FILE - Lawyers supporting the Bangladesh Nationalist Party shout slogans outside a court against a verdict against former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia in Dhaka, Feb. 8, 2018.
FILE - Lawyers supporting the Bangladesh Nationalist Party shout slogans outside a court against a verdict against former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia in Dhaka, Feb. 8, 2018.

Bangladesh is pushing back the date for its general election.  
 
The election commission said Monday that voters would go to the polls on Dec. 30 instead of Dec. 23. 

Several opposition parties requested the delay to give them more time to prepare. 

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is running for a third consecutive term. 

Veteran opposition leader Khaleda Zia, chairman of the Bangladesh National Party (BNP), is serving a 10-year jail term on corruption charges that her supporters say were politically motivated. She has been in jail since February, when a court sentenced her for embezzlement of foreign funds meant for an orphanage trust.  

In May, the Supreme Court granted Zia bail, but she remains in jail, having been implicated in some violence-related cases. 

Thousands of BNP leaders and activists have been arrested in recent months, mostly on charges of political violence. 

The Zia-led BNP and the Hasina-led Awami League (AL), the party in power, used to alternate in government with metronomic regularity — the rivalry between the two leaders became known as "battling begums of Bangladesh." 

Between 1991 and 2006, Zia served as prime minister for two terms and Hasina for one. But Hasina began her second term in 2009, and her party has been in power for nine years. 

When the Hasina-led government refused to hand over power to a caretaker government before the 2014 national elections, BNP boycotted the poll.

Child Marriage