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Last Updated: Monday, 22 January 2007, 05:19 GMT
Bangladesh leader vows crackdown
Fakhruddin Ahmed
Mr Ahmed promised to hold elections as soon as possible
The new head of Bangladesh's interim government has vowed to crack down on the corruption and violence which he says undermine the country's democracy.

Mr Fakhruddin Ahmed also promised to hold elections "as soon as possible".

Earlier this month, President Iajuddin Ahmed quit as interim leader and postponed the 22 January vote, saying it was "not possible" to hold it.

The moves followed months of violent protests amid claims by a political alliance that the vote is being rigged.

Across the country the violence left more than 40 people dead.

A state of emergency was also declared in the country before Mr Ahmed took office over a week ago.

In his first television address to the nation on Sunday, Mr Ahmed said: "My administration is pledge-bound to hold the new elections within the shortest possible time. Our motto is to hold a free, fair and participatory election."

He blamed corruption for much of what has gone so wrong in Bangladesh.

Mr Ahmed said the army and the police would continue to arrest corrupt individuals, while upholding human rights.

The BBC's John Sudworth in Dhaka says many people in Bangladesh believe that the country has been pulled back from the brink of anarchy by the declaration of the state of emergency, the cancellation of elections and appointment of the new interim government headed by Mr Ahmed.

The Awami League party described the decision to postpone the elections as a "victory for the people".

The Awami League has long alleged electoral bias in favour of its bitter rival, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). The BNP rejected the allegations and had said it would take part in the vote.

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31 Oct 06 |  South Asia

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