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Bangladesh Calls for Strike Ahead of Elections

The opposition in Bangladesh called for a 48-hour general strike Saturday, on the eve of national elections.

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party - BNP - says it will boycott Sunday's poll, a move that undermines the legitimacy of the election and makes it unlikely the election will stem a wave of political violence that has killed more than 150 people in recent months.

The ruling Awami League is a sure winner at the polls without BNP's participation.

BNP and some of its allies want Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to step down and appoint a neutral caretaker administration to oversee the election. The prime minister has refused to step aside.

BNP leader Khaleda Zia, who is a former prime minister, has called Sunday's vote a "farce" and has accused the government of placing her under house arrest.

Tens of thousands of troops have been deployed across Bangladesh to stem the tide of political violence.

The United States, the European Union and the Commonwealth have refused to send observers to monitor the election.

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