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Bangladesh Govt names new election chief

It was not clear if the Oppn would accept M Rahman as the acting election chief in place of MA Aziz.

india Updated: Nov 23, 2006 15:17 IST

Bangladesh's interim government on Thursday named a former judge to replace the controversial election chief who was forced to step aside by mass opposition protests, an official said.

It was not clear if the Opposition would accept Mahfuzur Rahman as the acting election chief in place of MA Aziz, who opted to go on extended leave after mounting pressure for his resignation crippled the country.

Rahman is one of Aziz's three deputies. The main opposition Awami League had earlier demanded that all three be replaced along with Aziz.

"Rahman is the most senior election commissioner. That's why he was named the acting chief election commissioner," said commission secretary Abdul Rashid Sarker.

Rahman would oversee January's national polls, he added.

The Awami League and its allies have held mass protests and brought the country to a standstill with a nationwide transport blockade.

It said it would decide later Thursday whether to call off the protests following Aziz's decision to go on leave and allow the interim government to hold elections without him.

The opposition has accused Aziz and his deputies of seeking to rig the elections in favour of the outgoing Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)-led government by drawing up a voter list with at least 10 million ghost voters.

It has threatened to continue with its protests and blockades, and also boycott the elections unless its demands are met.

First Published: Nov 23, 2006 15:09 IST