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Bangladesh rocked by violence Bangladesh rocked by violence
by Amin George Forji
2006-11-04 09:40:51
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In a nationwide address on Channel-i TV, Khaleda Zia announced that this was her farewell speech and, as required by law, named a caretaker committee to oversee the country until new elections are held in January. The committee was to be headed by ex-Chief Justice KM Hasan as interim PM, who, together with other nominees, was supposed to be installed the next day.

Mrs. Zia had hardly finished her televised speech, before violence broke out in the capital, Dhaka, in what can be termed a 'dark farewell' from her fellow citizens. The violence quickly spread to dozens of other towns, with supporters of the main opposition party, the Awami League, threatening to paralyse the country, unless the choice of Hasan was reversed. Riot police responded by firing teargas and rubber bullets at the stone-throwing demonstrators.

Several roads leading into major cities were blocked by the ever-growing demonstrators, tyres and other objects were set alight, explosions and gunfire could be heard, shops were looted, buildings of the ruling party set on fire were among other atrocities. Throughout Saturday, the supporters of the opposition occupied strategic rivers, train and bus stations.

The opposition rejected the nomination of KM Hasan on the basis that he is a supporter of the governing Bangladesh National Party (BNP), and is just a puppet called up to prepare a rigging machinery ahead of he January elections. Sheikh Hasina, leader of the opposition Awami league, said Zia manifested bad faith by choosing a non-neutral person, and further the opposition should be allowed to have say in the choosing of the interim PM.

Under the Bangladeshi system, an administration at the close of its term of office is required to hand-over power to an unelected interim government. The latter has a period of 90 days to organise free and fair elections, and swear in a new administration. But the law nevertheless stipulates that the outgoing administration can remain in office for 15 days, if there is disagreement as to the interim administration.

Zia has called for calm, but warns that her supporters will retaliate, if the opposition does not come to order. The two parties have ruled the country alternatively since 1991, but have hardly ever agreed, frequently settling their scores by means of street demonstrations or parliament boycotts.

KM Hasan, declined the post, just hours after the outgoing government had announced that it was delaying the transfer of power to the interim committee claiming that the incoming caretaker PM, Hasan was ill. "I was prepared to serve in the name of national interest, but the level of mistrust between the political parties has made my position untenable...It is best I should stand aside rather than be a hurdle to the political process," Hasan announced.

After the announcement, Bangladesh President Iajuddin Ahmed summoned the rival political leaders for a crisis meeting to come up with a compromising candidate. But with months to go before the elections proper, who knows. We may just be heading to a new spectacle of political confrontations.

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Ergotelina2006-11-03 19:12:49
Muhammad Yunus for President!

January is the election..

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