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Bangladesh to hold election on January 5, opposition likely to object

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina leaves after the closing ceremony of the ASEM Summit in Vientiane November 6, 2012. REUTERS/Sukree S
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina leaves after the closing ceremony of the ASEM Summit in Vientiane November 6, 2012. REUTERS/Sukree S

DHAKA (Reuters) - Bangladesh will hold a general election on January 5, the Election Commission said on Monday, in an announcement likely to anger the opposition which is demanding a neutral caretaker government to oversee the polls.

This month, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina formed a caretaker cabinet to oversee the election but the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) says it is not impartial.

Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmed announced the election date in a televised statement.

"We decided to hold the election on January 5 next year," Ahmed said.

He said the army would be deployed during the election to keep the peace.

The BNP had threatened to launch protests if the election date was announced before what it calls a "non-party" caretaker administration was formed.

Hasina on Sunday offered her old rival, BNP leader Begum Khaleda Zia, any position for the opposition party in the caretaker administration.

(Reporting By Serajul Quadir; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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