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Last Updated: Monday, 6 November 2006, 15:57 GMT
Bangladesh poll chief to stay on
By Waliur Rahman
BBC News, Dhaka

MA Aziz
Mr Aziz says he is determined to remain a commissioner
The chief election commissioner of Bangladesh, MA Aziz, has said he will not resign despite calls from some major political parties for him to go.

Mr Aziz told journalists in the capital Dhaka that he had "no intention" of resigning from his constitutional post.

He made the comments after a meeting with the US ambassador in which they discussed preparations for general elections due in January.

Bangladesh is being run by a caretaker government in the run-up to the vote.

Deadline

US Ambassador Patricia Butenis said that she wanted to know the views of the chief election commissioner on demands for electoral reform made by an alliance of 14 parties led by the former opposition party, the Awami League.

Bangladeshi opposition activist in Dhaka
The opposition have threatened a return to the streets

But neither she nor Mr Aziz would reveal details of their talks.

The 14-party alliance has given the country's President, Iajuddin Ahmed, a deadline of until Saturday to make changes in the election commission by removing all four election commissioners.

Previously a figurehead president, Mr Ahmed assumed all powers of the government after the political parties failed to agree on who should lead the caretaker administration to oversee the vote.

He appointed himself as the head of the current caretaker government last month when the five-year term of former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia expired.

Under Bangladesh's constitution, the caretaker government cannot directly sack or remove an election commissioner.

Mr Ahmed now has little time to avoid fresh protests from the 14-party alliance.

The former opposition leader, Sheikh Hasina, threatened to call her supporters back onto the streets if the election commission is not reorganised.

More than 20 people were killed in violence last month when the political parties were at loggerheads over the formation of the caretaker administration.


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