March 15, 2007


Nobel Laureate Eyes Election as Next Prize: Bangladeshi Planning Run for President (Nora Boustany. 3/15/07, Washington Post)

Economic growth in the country is running at 7 percent, after China's booming 10 to 11 percent annual rate. "Bangladesh could have been at a par with China had we had good governance and the chance of . . . a peaceful environment," [Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel Peace Prize recipient who turned small-scale lending to village women into a powerful force against poverty in his native Bangladesh and other low-income countries,] said.

The Bangladesh military declared emergency powers on Jan. 11 after rioting and political stalemate. Elections that under constitutional requirements were to take place that month were postponed. The delay was in part due to international concerns over alleged padding of voter registration lists by the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

Yunus said he would resign from Grameen Bank once the official campaign period begins but would continue to prioritize women as a national resource. "This is not just politics for getting elected, but because they are a real strength," he said.

Yunus said he was saddened by media criticism of his planned candidacy. "People will say anything to deface you," he said, but he declined to respond to specific allegations. "This is the time to create something, a new core of talented young people rather than have all this meaningless infighting."

Yunus said the Bangladesh army was "cleaning up" by detaining corrupt officials.

He expressed confidence that new electoral regulations and electoral commission would help see the country through fair elections. "Everything people have been clamoring for is being put into effect, such as clean electoral procedures," he said. He said he believed elections would be held by the end of the year.

"It may ring untrue, but he is not at odds with the army," said Tasneem Khalil, an editor at the English-language Daily Star in the capital, Dhaka.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 15, 2007 6:39 AM

alleged padding of voter registration lists by the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party

Big deal. Sounds like normal procedure for King County's ruling Democratic Party.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at March 15, 2007 10:29 AM