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Bangladesh’s main opposition group promised on to remove curbs on free speech

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Dhaka. Bangladesh’s main opposition group promised on Monday to remove curbs on free speech and the media and to rein in the police if it unseats Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina from her decade-long rule in this month’s national election.

Presenting its manifesto in Dhaka, the Jaitya Oikya Front, or National Unity Front alliance, also pledged to bring in a series of checks and balances on central government power.

It would create an upper house of parliament, introduce a rule that would bar a prime minister from running for office for more than two consecutive terms, and give the central bank more autonomy.

The alliance also promised to raise the minimum wage of garment workers and freeze gas and electricity prices for the first year that it is in power.

Hasina, who is Bangladesh’s longest-ruling leader and is seeking a third straight term in the election scheduled for Dec. 30, has been accused by the opposition and human rights groups of becoming increasingly authoritarian.

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