Election authorities in Bangladesh have rejected former prime minister Khaleda Zia's application to run in this month's parliamentary election over two graft convictions.
‘Her candidacy has been rejected as per the law,’ election official Mohammad Wahiduzzaman said at the end of an examination of her nomination papers at a parliamentary constituency in eastern Bangladeshi district of Feni.
Zia, the chief of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), filed nomination papers from two other seats in northern Bogra district to contest the December 30 election. Those were also rejected on the same grounds.
The BNP said it planned to challenge the election commission's decision.
The 73-year old politician has been in jail since February after a court convicted her of misappropriating funds intended for an orphanage and sentenced her to five years in prison. The sentence was doubled to 10 years by a higher court in October.
Zia was also convicted of illegally raising charitable funds by using the power of her office during her second term (2001-2006) as prime minister.
Mahbubey Alam, Bangladesh's attorney general, referred to a Supreme Court ruling in telling reporters in Dhaka that anyone convicted and sentenced to two years or more in jail is not qualified to contest an election.
BNP spokesman Ruhul Kabir Rizvi Ahmed said he blamed the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for keeping Zia away from the election.
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