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Controversial Bangladeshi Election Official Steps Aside


Bangladesh's interim president, Iajuddin Ahmed, has announced that the controversial chief election commissioner has agreed to go on a leave of absence to help resolve the nation's political crisis.

In a televised speech late Wednesday, Ahmed said Commissioner M.A. Aziz will be going on a three-month leave.

Aziz bowed to pressure after widespread protests by the opposition, which accused him of seeking to rig national elections in January.

Earlier Wednesday, rival political activists fought each other for a third straight day over electoral reforms.

Witnesses say one man was stabbed to death in the northern town of Bogra during a fight between opposition and government supporters.

In the capital, Dhaka, riot police used batons to break up another street battle involving rival groups, and several people were reported injured.

Opposition activists continued to enforce a work stoppage and transport shutdown in Dhaka and other parts of Bangladesh. Schools and shops were closed, train services were disrupted, and roads were blocked.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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