Bangladesh to hold elections Dec. 23 despite Zia's arrest

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Bangladesh's Election Commission says the country's next national election will be held Dec. 23, despite the imprisonment of the main opposition leader.

Chief Election Commissioner A.K.M. Nurul Huda said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will head an election-time government as provided for in the constitution. The opposition has demanded an independent caretaker administration.

It will be Bangladesh's 11th general election since it gained independence through a bloody war with Pakistan in 1971.

Hasina's arch rival, former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, is in jail on corruption charges. It is uncertain whether her Bangladesh Nationalist Party will participate in the upcoming polls. The party and its partners boycotted the last election in 2014, when Hasina returned to power with a commanding majority.