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Bangladesh's main ruling and opposition parties discuss election reforms

Bangladesh's main ruling and opposition parties discuss election reforms

Senior leaders from Bangladesh's main ruling and opposition parties held talks Thursday on election reforms, amid opposition threats to boycott an upcoming general election.
After nearly two hours of discussion, the leaders told reporters that they listened to each other and decided to meet again Friday.
The government last week offered to hold talks with the opposition following a series of violent anti-government protests and general strikes over the issue in recent months.
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.
Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, a senior minister and secretary general of the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party, met with Abdul Jalil, general secretary of the opposition Awami League at the Parliament building in the capital, Dhaka.
"The opposition leader has given us an outline of the reforms it wants. I'll discuss it with senior leaders of our party before resuming the talks again on Friday," Bhuiyan told reporters after the dialogue.
Jalil said he urged Bhuiyan to accept the opposition demands so the next election would be free and fair.
The leaders provided no further details.
"We look forward to an end to the political deadlock," Shamsur Rahman, a lawmaker from the Awami League told the Associated Press before the talks ended.
The election commissioners have denied opposition allegations of bias 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.


Updated : 2021-05-08 06:21 GMT+08:00