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Bangladeshis Vote in First Polls Since Emergency Rule


Bangladesh has held its first polls since the military-backed interim government established emergency rule early last year.

Election officials say they believe about 60 to 70 percent of eligible voters turned out for Monday's local council elections.

Security was tight for the polls, and Bangladeshi officials say the vote appeared to be both peaceful and transparent.

An election official said the voting process was initially slow as people adjusted to the new voters' list. Monday's polls were the first test of a new digital list designed to prevent rigging and fake voting.

Election officials said the new list contains the identities, photographs and fingerprints of more than 80 million people in Bangladesh.

The military-backed interim government has pledged to restore democracy to the country. It imposed emergency rule and canceled elections in Bangladesh last year after activists staged a series of violent street protests to demand electoral reforms.

Since then, authorities have arrested about 170 politicians on corruption charges. Among those charged are the leaders of Bangladesh's two main political parties - the Awami League's Sheikh Hasina and the Bangladesh National Party's Khaleda Zia.

National elections are scheduled for December.


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

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