B'desh chief vows to hold polls at the earliest
BANGLADESH: Bangladesh's new interim administration chief failed to
set a deadline on Sunday for disputed elections that were due this month
but said he would hand over power to an elected government at the
Fakhruddin Ahmed, in his first comments since he took office nine
days ago, also promised to clean up Bangladesh's controversial election
system, fight corruption and urged divided political parties to nominate
Ahmed's speech came hours after the head of the election commission
resigned, considered the first step to prepare the troubled South Asian
nation for polls that were put off under pressure from an alliance of
"The nation faces the tough challenge of holding credible elections
after undertaking the necessary reforms but we have accepted the
challenge," Ahmed said in a broadcast to the nation.
"We are bound by our pledge to hand over power to an elected
government within the shortest possible time after holding free, fair
and impartial polls acceptable to all," he said during the 20-minute
address in Bengali.
Ahmed said the government needed to reorganise the election
commission, redo the voters' rolls and arrange for transparent ballot
boxes to ensure credible elections which all political parties would
"We want elections and politics to be rid of money and muscle power.
We want to make the country's administration non-partisan," said Ahmed.
"We hope the parties will cooperate and help develop a political
culture in the country."
Dhaka, Monday, Reuters