According to latest results, President Ziaur Rahman of Bangladesh has won overwhelming support for his rule and his policies in a national referendum which was held on Monday (30 May).
According to latest results, President Ziaur Rahman of Bangladesh has won overwhelming support for his rule and his policies in a national referendum which was held on Monday (30 May). With the votes in from three-quarters of the polling centres, almost 99 per cent of the people endorsed him. The day before, last minute activity for the referendum was taking place in Dacca, the capital city.
SYNOPSIS: General Zia, as he is usually known, called the referendum to demonstrate his popular support and to obtain endorsement for the social and economic programme he has proposed for his country. The programme will give priority to agricultural development and self-sufficiency.
The government launched an extensive campaign to get as many voters as possible to turn out. There were over 21,000 polling stations and around 60,500 polling booths, one for every 600 voters. According to General Zia's political opponents, however, the referendum was expensive and unnecessary.
Martial law regulations have prevented any public airing of anti-Zia views. Many opponents said they would refuse to cast their votes in protest. Twenty-six political parties are approved by the government, but their activities are restricted.
The 41-year-old General took over as President in April after being the effective ruler of the country since November 1975. He has promised an early return to representative government, and has said he will hold general elections by December 1978. In November last year, elections had been postponed indefinitely.