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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 May 2007, 14:33 GMT 15:33 UK
Bangladesh leader: I am in charge
Fakhruddin Ahmed
Mr Ahmed said that he would abide by his election timetable
The head of Bangladesh's emergency government, Fakhruddin Ahmed, has said that his administration - not the military - is controlling the country.

Mr Ahmed told the BBC that the army was working "in aid" of his interim civil administration.

Some commentators say that the army now wields ultimate power in the country.

Mr Ahmed said the military had played an important role in maintaining law and order and combating crime since he came to power in January.

At that time, a state of emergency was imposed and political activities banned.

The authorities say that such moves were necessary to stop violence between supporters of the Awami League and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, the countries' two main parties.


"The military is certainly backing the government but let me point out that this government was sworn in under a provision of the constitution of the country," Mr Ahmed told the BBC's John Sudworth in his first broadcast interview since coming to power.

He reiterated his commitment to restoring democracy by the end of 2008 and stressed his desire to eliminate corruption.

Bangladeshi soldier
The military-backed government says it wants an end to corruption

"It is driven by greed, and therefore its complete elimination is not possible in human societies, not even in developed countries.

"But we believe we can certainly make corruption costly enough so that its impact is reduced significantly and the anti-corruption measures that we have started really are measures in that direction," he said.

Our correspondent says that Dr Ahmed is an unlikely figure to be leading Bangladesh through its current crisis.

A former World Bank bureaucrat, he was appointed to head the emergency government following the collapse of January's general elections amid widespread political violence.


He set about the task of overhauling the fraud-ridden electoral system and tackling rampant corruption with a sense of urgency, but he has remained a somewhat elusive figure.

Sheikh Hasina's supporters welcome her back to Dhaka
Political activities are still officially banned

Dozens of high-profile politicians and civil servants have been rounded up, imprisoned and are awaiting trial since he came to power.

But he took over largely as a result of actions by the military, who intervened to pull the country back from disorder and chaos over claims that the election was being rigged.

While some observers are concerned that the army's role in politics could result in the return of a military-led government, correspondents say that few in Dhaka feel it is interested in taking power in the same way it did in the 1970s and 1980s.

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