Dhaka, Bangladesh (AP) — Military leader Gen. Hossain Mohammad Ershad dissolved his council of ministers Tuesday and announced that Bangladesh would hold its parliamentary elections April 6  its first in six years.

Ershad, who decreed martial law after taking power in a bloodless coup in 1982, is expected to name a new Cabinet on Wednesday.

The old Cabinet, made up mainly of pro-government Janadal Party ministers, was apparently dissolved to satisfy opposition parties’ demands for a non-partisan government to conduct elections.

Ershad first scheduled parliamentary elections for Dec. 8. They were canceled when opposition parties said they would not participate in an election held under martial law.

In December, however, two opposition groups representing 22 parties said they would take part in April elections if the military government ensured they were free and fair.

Parliamentary elections have been held twice before, in 1973 and 1979. Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan, gained its independence in 1971. It had been part of imperial British India until 1947, when Pakistan was formed.

Presidential polls took place in 1978, when Ziaur Rahman, who was later slain, was elected, and in 1981, when Abdus Sattar was voted into power.

Bangladesh, a country of more than 92 million people, has more than 40 million registered voters.


Article extracted from this publication >> January 25, 1985