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B'desh blockade lifted as poll chief steps aside

Written by: Staff
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DHAKA, Nov 23 (Reuters) A 14-party political alliance today lifted a four-day transport blockade across Bangladesh to force out controversial election officials, after the chief election commissioner temporarily stepped aside.

''We are lifting the blockade, but our pressure on the interim government will continue to further re-organise the election commission and update the voters' list,'' Abdul Jalil, general secretary of alliance leader Awami League, told a news conference.

Chief Election Commissioner M A Aziz yesterday agreed to take three months' leave to defuse pressure from the political parties, led by the Awami League of Sheikh Hasina, calling for his dismissal.

Six people were killed and hundreds injured in clashes among rival groups during the shutdown over the past four days.

The Awami League alliance had accused the election commissioner of a bias towards its main rival the Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

Elections are due in January.

REUTERS AB BST1816

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