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Bangladeshi President Tries to Resolve Political Stalemate as Violence Claims 14 Lives


Bangladeshi President Iajuddin Ahmed has met with government and opposition figures to try to resolve the stalemate over who should head the country's interim administration.

The meeting took place Saturday amid violent protests between rival political activists that claimed at least 14 lives and injured hundreds others since Friday.

It came hours after chief justice K.M. Hasan was to have been sworn in as caretaker leader, but refused the job.

However, discussions on a possible replacement appeared to stall again after the opposition rejected a proposal for the president to take the post.

The Bangladeshi leader said he would meet with political party leaders again on Sunday to discuss who should lead the country until January elections.

The main opposition Awami League had threatened to paralyze the country with a transport strike if outgoing Prime Minister Khaleda Zia chose the retired chief justice for the post.

The opposition says Hasan is biased in favor of the government. Mrs. Zia's final days in power have been marked by political turmoil. At least 24 politicians, including several lawmakers and ministers, defected from the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party Thursday to start a new party.

Former president Badruddoza Chowdhury and Oli Ahmed, a former minister with the ruling party, head the newly formed Liberal Democratic Party. It accuses the government of widespread corruption.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP

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