DHAKA – Bangladesh’s election commission said on Thursday a general election would be held on Dec. 23.
Chief election commissioner, KM Nurul Huda, made the announcement in a televised address to the nation at a time of deep political polarization in the country, while the leader of the opposition was serving a prison sentence.
“I urge the political parties to solve if any differences they had politically. I urge each political party for tolerant, respectful and political behaviors towards each others,” Huda said.
Candidates would be able to put forward their nomination papers between Nov. 19-29.
“I expect a competitive election with the participation of each political party,” he added.
A number of parties, including the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party boycotted the 2014 general election, while the ruling Awami League took more than half of the seats and formed a government for a second consecutive term.
The announcement of the election coincided with the transfer of opposition leader and former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia back to jail from a hospital where she had been staying since Oct. 6.
Hospital authorities said Zia’s condition was stable and so she was released. She was serving a 17-year sentence for corruption.
The BNP and the Awami League have taken turns in power since 1991, except for a brief period of military rule between 2006-2008.