Bangladesh will hold the much-awaited general elections on January 7, the country's chief election commissioner announced on Wednesday.
Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Habibul Awal announced the dates during an address to the nation that was telecast live.
Mounting tensions between govt and oppsoition
The announcement came amid mounting political tensions as Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its far-right allies like the Jamaat-e-Islami have waged a street campaign demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government to allow a non-party interim government to conduct the general elections.
The ruling Awami League has dismissed the demand, saying elections would be held under Premier Hasina, who also rejected proposals for dialogue with the Opposition by the US and other major Western countries, calling BNP a terrorist organisation.
Since October 28, the opposition parties have been enforcing transport blockades and clashing with police and rival activists in support of their demand.
5 killed in political violence in 3 weeks
The political violence in the last three weeks killed at least five people including a policeman.
According to media reports, some 8,000 opposition leaders and activists, including BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, have been arrested in a nationwide crackdown.
Major Western countries, including the United States, have called for a political settlement ahead of elections through dialogue among three major parties Awami League, BNP and Jatiya Party.