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Bangladesh Marks One Year Under Emergency Rule


Bangladesh is marking one year under emergency rule Friday with leaders of its interim government vowing to hold elections before the end of this year.

In a message to the nation Thursday, Bangladeshi President Iajuddin Ahmed said the caretaker government played a decisive role in establishing the rule of law, fighting corruption and eliminating terrorism.

Mr. Ahmed also said he is convinced that a free, fair and credible general election will be held in 2008, as announced by the country's election commission.

Amnesty International has urged Bangladesh to lift the state of emergency and restore human rights before elections.

On January 11, 2007, Mr. Ahmed declared a state of emergency, indefinitely postponed elections (that had been scheduled for January 22 last year) and appointed a caretaker government, now led by Fakruddin Ahmed.

The interim government has since rounded up dozens of politicians in a widespread anti-corruption campaign, including two former prime ministers. Court proceedings are under way against former leaders Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia.

Bangladesh's president also must deal with a lagging economy, including a high inflation rate driven by soaring food and commodity prices.

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

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