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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 September 2007, 08:06 GMT 09:06 UK
Bangladesh president to continue
By Mark Dummett
BBC News, Dhaka

President Iajuddin Ahmed
President Ahmed's role is essentially ceremonial
Bangladesh's government has announced that Iajuddin Ahmed will continue as president, even though his five-year term officially ends on Wednesday.

Mr Ahmed would carry on as there is no parliament to select his successor, a spokesman said.

An interim government using emergency powers has ruled Bangladesh since January.

It says that elections for a new parliament cannot be held until corruption is tackled.

No choice

Because of Bangladesh's extraordinary current political situation, President Ahmed, who was elected by parliament five years ago, will stay in his job for the foreseeable future.

Parliament was dissolved a year ago and new elections have been postponed, at least until the end of 2008.

With no MPs to choose a new president, Mr Ahmed has no choice but to stay in his job.

Elections have been delayed because the interim government - which is backed by the army - says it needs to first clean up Bangladesh's corrupt politics.

It has arrested the country's two former prime ministers who dominated Bangladesh's politics for a combined total of 15 years.

Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina have been detained in a luxury prison on the parliament grounds awaiting trials for corruption.

Although President Ahmed is the head of state and the defence minister, he is not seen to be a key player in the interim government.

He lost popularity when he declared that he would head the government himself last October.

Huge protests forced him to step down and return to what is now essentially a ceremonial post.


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