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Bangla PM ready to hand over power
October 27, 2006 23:47 IST
Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia on Friday said she was ready to hand over power to a caretaker government to oversee the general elections due in January, even as the opposition announced a blockade of Dhaka once the transfer scheduled for Saturday happens.
Addressing the nation before handing over power to the non-party interim government headed by retired justice K M Hasan on Saturday, Khaleda, who heads the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, said her four-party coalition will cooperate with the new government.
The opposition alliance led by Awami League is opposed to Hasan, who it alleges is a BNP supporter.
Talks on electoral reforms between the opposition and ruling coalitions had broken down and the opposition had vowed to take to the streets on Saturday despite a police ban on all public rallies.
According to Bangladesh's Constitution, the caretaker government is bound to hold new elections in 90 days.
But AL on Friday said it would launch an indefinte transport blockade of Dhaka when the caretaker government takes over.
The opposition will begin an indefinte siege programme to cut off communications with the rest of the country the moment the caretaker government takes over, AL secretary general Abdul Jalil was quoted as saying by AFP.
Amid reports of sporadic violence, security was tight in the country, with some 50,000 police personnel depolyed along with elite Rapid Action Battalion in the capital Dhaka.
Zia's national address came a day after her party BNP split, with about 100 party leaders including some ministers and lawmakers announcing formation of a new outfit christened Liberal Democratic Party.