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Bangladesh Election Schedule Declared
14-party alliance to stage sit-in on Tuesday
Golam Mustofa Sarowar (Golam)     Print Article 
Published 2006-11-28 07:43 (KST)   
The Election Commission of Bangladesh declared on Monday the schedule for the ninth parliamentary election. Meanwhile, the Awami League led 14-party alliance will stage a sit-in around the Election Commission secretariat in Dhaka on Tuesday to press for electoral reforms to pave the way for a reliable and translucent election.

According to the schedule, the polling will be held on Jan 21, 2007. The last date for submitting nomination papers is Dec. 10. Scrutiny of the nomination papers will take place on Dec. 11. The date for withdrawal of candidature is Dec. 19.

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The announcement caused extensive controversy and protests as it comes at a time when the engagement of two more election commissioners, as pledged by President Iajuddin Ahamed, is still being waited on. Also, a writ petition filed by 11 leaders of the 14-party alliance and others, seeking an injunction on the announcement of the election schedule before updating of the list of voters, is still pending before the High Court.

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party-Jamaat four-party alliance has hailed the poll schedule. The 14-party alliance and all other parties have rejected it. The caretaker government's advisers were also, in total, gloomy about the declaration of the election schedule.

At a press briefing, Election Commission secretary Abdur Rashid Sarker said, "Against the backdrop of [the] evolving political situation, and as we are short of time, we had to announce the schedule today The election commission is an independent constitutional body to take decisions regarding elections."

"We have apprised the president of the election schedule announcement," he added.

The leaders of the 14-party alliance issued a threat on Monday to go for tougher agitation programs if the government tries to foil their sit-in program on Tuesday. During the Election Commission sit-in program, a large number of law enforcers would be deployed to prevent the program.

The 14-party alliance has made massive preparations over the last few days to make the 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. sit-in program a success. They have asked their activists and loyalists to resist any bid to foil the program. Meanwhile, the Dhaka Metropolitan Police has taken elaborate security measures for the secretariat and surrounding neighborhoods.
©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Golam Mustofa Sarowar

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