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Bangladesh unveils voters list, angers opposition

By Staff
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DHAKA, May 4 (Reuters) - Bangladesh's election commission tooday released a list of over 91 million voters for next year's national election, further angering opposition parties which are demanding electoral reforms.

There were 15 million new voters in the latest list, but the main opposition Awami League said many of the names were fictitious to ensure a victory for the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) in the elections due in January 2007.

''The list is unacceptable because it has been tailored to guarantee BNP's win,'' the Awami League said in a statement.

The election commission said it was a draft list open to public verification.

The Awami League has been demanding changes in the election commission -- which it says is partisan -- and to the country's system of pre-poll caretaker administration.

The ruling BNP agreed to discuss the electoral reforms with the opposition, but the talks failed to take place after the opposition objected to the inclusion of the government's Islamist allies in the discussions.

The opposition accuses the Islamist parties of helping the Pakistani army during Bangladesh's 1971 war of independence and more lately of harbouring militants.

REUTERS SY VC1515

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