End emergency before polls, say Bangladesh parties

September 21st, 2008 - 1:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Sep 21 (IANS) Political parties in Bangladesh want curbs imposed under emergency rule to be lifted before the Dec 18 elections but business leaders feel this could lead to chaos on the streets.Chief Advisor Fakhruddin Ahmed, who heads a military-backed caretaker government, announced the poll date Saturday, assuring Bangladeshis that the curbs would be partially removed to facilitate free and fair polls.

But no provision of the Emergency Powers Rules would hamper the election process, he said.

Ahmed warned that if anyone tried to vitiate the atmosphere, the government would deal with them firmly.

Unhappy, political parties said they would protest to have the curbs lifted immediately. They also don’t want any changes in the election law that the government and the election commission have been preparing to enforce.

While political parties want the emergency curbs to go, members of the trade and industry are apprehensive. Months of political turmoil, when the economy came to a halt, caused the polls to be axed in January 2007.

“It is very much possible to hold general elections under the state of emergency. We witnessed the city corporation elections under the same conditions,” Nes Age newspaper quoted Syed Manzur Elahi, a business leader and former adviser to the caretaker government, as saying.

He stressed that a peaceful atmosphere was necessary to hold the polls.

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