Bangladesh lifts state of emergency

December 17th, 2008 - 1:20 am ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Dec 16 (DPA) Bangladesh’s military-backed government Tuesday lifted the state of emergency restoring civil and political rights ahead of the Dec 29 elections, according to an official gazette notification.The withdrawal of the state of emergency came in the face of demands by major political parties, civil society actors, rights groups and international donors to allow full electioneering by the parties and candidates, and to allow people to exercise their democratic rights ahead of the poll, a statement said.

The order, called the Emergency Powers (Repeal) Ordinance 2008, signed by President Iajuddin Ahmed, will come into effect Wednesday, after a 23-month-suspension of democratic rights, said an official at the Bangababhan, the presidential palace.

The president had promulgated the state of emergency Jan 11, 2007 against a backdrop of political turmoil, and also postponed the general elections, originally scheduled for Jan 22, 2007.

Bangladesh’s two former prime ministers - Sheikh Hasina of the Awami League and Khaleda Zia of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party - who lead two electoral alliances, were Tuesday addressing election rallies seeking votes for their candidates.

Hasina started her election trip in the south-western part of the country, as Zia returned to Dhaka after a three-day campaign in the provinces.

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