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    Bangladesh's BNP Concedes Defeat

    The party of former Bangladeshi Prime Minister Khaleda Zia has conceded defeat following the country's December 29 parliamentary election, but it has repeated allegations that the vote was rigged.

    The spokesman and secretary-general for the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) said Ms. Zia and other party officials want to give the winning Awami League parliamentary alliance the opportunity to run the country.

    The spokesman told reporters in Dhaka Thursday that the BNP also wants to see if the winning coalition can keep its promises to the Bangladeshi people. But he said the BNP still believes Monday's vote was rigged.

    The Awami League, led by Ms. Zia's longtime rival Sheikh Hasina, won an overwhelming majority in the country's first parliamentary vote in seven years.

    The BNP had earlier rejected the election outcome as "farcical" and unacceptable.

    Ms. Hasina had called on the BNP to accept defeat and work with the Awami League to restore democracy in the country after nearly two years of emergency rule.

    In a news conference Wednesday, Ms. Hasina pledged to work with all political parties and said she is prepared to offer senior political posts to the opposition in exchange for their cooperation. Ms. Hasina is also a former prime minister of Bangladesh.

    Election commission officials said Ms. Hasina's Awami League and its allies won about two-thirds of the seats, and international monitors deemed the election "credible."

    Observers also welcomed the high voter turnout, with about 85 percent of the 81 million eligible voters casting ballots.

     


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

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