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Bangladesh ruling, opposition parties expected to begin electoral reform talks Thursday

Bangladesh ruling, opposition parties expected to begin electoral reform talks Thursday

Senior leaders from Bangladesh's main ruling and opposition parties were expected to start talks on electoral reforms Thursday, ahead of January's general elections, a government minister said.
Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, a senior minister and secretary-general of the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party, said that he would sit Thursday with Abdul Jalil, general secretary of the main opposition Awami League, at the Jatiya Sangsad, or National Parliament building.
"The dialogue will be held tomorrow at the Jatiya Sangsad," Bhuiyan told reporters Wednesday at his official residence. "I have spoken to Mr. Jalil _ time and venue have been set."
The move came a day after the government rejected an opposition proposal to kick off discussions Tuesday at the U.S. Embassy, where both parties had been invited for a social function.
The government on Friday offered to hold talks with the opposition following a series of violent anti-government protests and general strikes in recent months demanding electoral reforms.
A 14-party opposition alliance, led by the Awami League, has threatened to boycott the January elections unless Chief Election Commissioner M.A. Aziz and his three deputies are replaced. The opposition parties say they are biased toward Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's four-party ruling coalition.
The commissioners have denied the allegation and have refused to resign.
The opposition also wants a say in who heads a caretaker administration that will conduct the elections after Zia constitutionally hands over power on Oct. 28.
Parliament, meanwhile, sat Wednesday for its final session under the current administration.


Updated : 2021-05-08 06:55 GMT+08:00