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Zia, opposition give miss to parliament swearing-in

world Updated: Jan 04, 2009 18:40 IST

IANS
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Begum Khaleda Zia and the lawmakers-elect of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) stayed away from Sunday's swearing-in ceremony in parliament, but assigned no reason.

The BNP, which received a severe drubbing winning only 29 of the 300 seats of the hosue, has alleged that the poll was "stage managed" and had large-scale rigging. But it has also indicated its desire to join parliament and cooperate.

The BNP decided not to take oath Sunday, vice-chairman M.K. Anwar told The Daily Star, hours before a scheduled swearing-in ceremony.

"We are not going to take oath today and the date for swearing-in is yet to be fixed," Anwar said.

A constituent of the four-party alliance that Zia leads, Bangladesh Jatiya Party (BJP) chairman Andalib Rahman Partha also said its lone member-elect would stay away.

It was not clear if two members of the larger constituent Jamaat-e-Islami took oath administered by Speaker Jamiruddin Sircar of the eighth parliament.

The parliament secretariat had invited the lawmakers-elect of the four-party alliance to take oath after of the Awami League-led nine party alliance was sworn in.

As per the country's constitution, if they fail to take oath Sunday, they can be sworn in by the Chief Election Commissioner within the next three days.

If they fail to do so, they will get another chance to be sworn in by the new speaker within 90 days from the first working session of the parliament.

The BNP won 29 seats in the ninth parliamentary election held Dec 29.

BNP chairperson and two-term prime minister Khaleda Zia contested three seats in the elections and has secured all of them. She has decided to give up the two Bogra seats, retaining her Feni constituency.

The BNP will therefore have 27 member-elect to be sworn in.