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US calls for free and credible elections in Bangladesh

A deadlock between the government and Opposition over election reforms threatens to jeopardise January's parliamentary polls.

india Updated: Oct 20, 2006 12:25 IST

The United States has called for free and credible elections in Bangladesh as a deadlock between the government in Dhaka and opposition parties over election reforms threatened to jeopardise January's parliamentary polls.

"The US government views the next parliamentary elections in Bangladesh as a critical opportunity to strengthen democratic politics and governance in Bangladesh," the US State Department said.

"The US supports free, fair, non-violent, and credible elections in Bangladesh. Our support is for the process, not any political party," the department said in a statement.

Bangladesh's main opposition Awami League and its 13 leftist allies have threatened to boycott the polls unless the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) replaces the proposed interim administration chief and top election officials they accuse of being pro-government.

The BNP is due to hand over power to the interim administration on October 27.

The two main parties have held five round of talks since October 5, but have been unable to reach a consensus on the Opposition's demands. A sixth round is planned for October 23.

"The make-up of Bangladesh's caretaker government is a decision that the Bangladesh people must make, following Bangladesh's Constitution," the State Department said.

The United States was encouraged that Bangladesh's major political parties had engaged in dialogue to try to resolve their differences on the elections, the department said, noting that those talks were ongoing.

First Published: Oct 20, 2006 12:25 IST