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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bangladesh Plans Poll

DHAKA, Bangladesh () -- Five weeks after being re-elected, Prime Minister Khaleda Zia asked Bangladesh's president Wednesday to prepare for new elections in May, state-run television reported.


Zia was trying to end a two-year standoff with opposition parties, who accuse her government of corruption and election fraud, demand her resignation and organized strikes that have hampered government since March 9.


The opposition suspended its crippling strike to celebrate Independence Day, a national holiday, which falls March 25.However, she did not produce a letter of resignation that the opposition has called for. dition by the opposition to call off a strike that has halted economic activity and hampered government since March 9.


Zia asked President Abdur Rahman Biswas to "take immediate steps" to find a non-party caretaker government that would take over the running of the country during the election period.


Mrs. Zia's request for an election within three months under a neutral authority represented an unqualified victory for the relentless campaign mounted by her arch-rival and opposition leader, Sheikh Hasina.


On Tuesday, Hasina, demanded that Mrs. Zia quit by Wednesday or face an escalating campaign of strikes and street protests.


Pressure continued to mount Wednesday when 20 senior bureaucrats met the president and urged him to seek Zia's resignation.


Education Minister Rafiqul Islam Mia said the prime minister intended to step down quickly.


"We have no intention to stay on. The prime minister will be ready to resign the moment the president signs the bill into law and dissolves Parliament," he said.


But Zia's resignation may be delayed as she waits for the president's signature and tries to negotiate a graceful exit.