Army-backed leader hails Bangladesh's return to democracy | world | Hindustan Times
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Army-backed leader hails Bangladesh's return to democracy

world Updated: Jan 06, 2009 10:43 IST

The man who ran Bangladesh for almost two years under emergency rule said he had laid the foundations for last week's peaceful elections, as he prepared to hand over power on Tuesday.

Chief adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed, who heads the army-backed government that will stand down when incoming premier Sheikh Hasina Wajed is sworn in, told reporters that Bangladesh should be proud of last week's vote.

"This is a great achievement for the people of this country," he said, according to online newspaper

"When the caretaker government took over, the law and order situation was delicate and, in the last two years that has been brought to a level of normalcy.

"We have created an environment in which people could go to polling centres and cast their votes without fear."

Campaigning and voting went smoothly in the December 29 election, in marked contrast to the unrest that caused polls to be cancelled in January 2007, when at least 35 people were killed in violence over allegations of vote fraud.

The unrest brought the country to a standstill, leading the president to declare a state of emergency, and the army stepped in to impose an interim authority with Ahmed, a former banker, at the helm.

Sheikh Hasina, 61, won 230 seats out of a possible 300, giving her Awami League a clear majority to govern without having to form a coalition.