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Bangladesh election set for December

Sept. 20, 2008 at 7:35 PM

DHAKA, Bangladesh, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- The caretaker government in Bangladesh has scheduled a general election for Dec. 18, Fakhruddin Ahmed, the election chief adviser, announced Saturday.

Ahmed, in a speech broadcast on national television, said that elections for regional officials will be held Dec. 24 and Dec. 28, the Press Trust of India reported.

"In order to avoid obstacles on the way towards democratic transition and to pay respect to the major political parties' request, the election commission has decided to stage the general election ahead of the other polls," Ahmed said.

The interim government has ruled Bangladesh since January 2007, when President Iajuddin Ahmed declared a state of emergency, canceling a scheduled election. His action followed massive protests by Bangladeshis calling for electoral reform.

The independent election commission has held three rounds of negotiations with the major political parties to prepare for elections.

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