Bangladesh's President and new caretaker government chief Iajuddin Ahmed has sought the cooperation of political parties to hold free and fair general elections early next year and restore peace in the country rocked by months of political clashes.
In his first speech addressed to the nation hours after taking charge of the interim caretaker government amid widespread violence, Ahmed said he was forced to take the job under the constitution as all other provisions failed due disagreements among political groups.
"I took this responsibility at a critical juncture of our nation as it is our holy duty to uphold the Constitution and keep the constitutional process going."
Ahmed, the first to hold the dual position since the concept was incorporated in the constitution in 1996, said everyone wanted an end to the strife, which could not be allowed to continue as it affected the economy as well as disrupted normal life.
"I seek full cooperation of the people and political groups in maintaining peace and tranquility" as well as "holding a free election within the stipulated time."
The president also appealed to the politicians to advise him on appointing 10 of his advisors for the next three months.
Meanwhile, Sheikh Hasina Wajed's Awami League party said she did not get invitation to join Ahmed's swearing-in ceremony.