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Bangladesh’s Nobel peace prize winner Muhammad Yunus on Thursday formally launched his “Citizens’ Power” party, confirming his plans to join active politics. 

“Today I formally announce my party Nagarik Shakti (citizens’ power),” Yunus told reporters before leaving for Abu Dhabi on a four-day visit. “The core slogan of my party will be ‘Bangladesh go forward’,” he said. 

Yunus won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for his micro-finance scheme that earned him the nickname “banker to the poor”. 

Yunus said his party would contest the next parliamentary election, the date for which has yet to be set after being postponed from last month. 

Yunus and the Grameen Bank, which he founded to offer small loans to the very poor, were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last October.

The microcredit pioneer had previously shunned the murky and sometimes violent world of Bangladeshi politics. The country is ranked among the most corrupt in the world.

Earlier this month, however, Yunus wrote an open letter seeking the views of ordinary people on whether he should launch a political party.

The party name was announced at the weekend and Yunus said it would contest all parliamentary seats at the next election, for which a date has yet to be set.

A ballot scheduled for January 22 was cancelled on January 11 when President Iajuddin Ahmed stepped down as head of the interim government and imposed a state of emergency.

The cancellation followed the main opposition’s announcement that it would boycott the elections. It accused the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), which led the outgoing government, of seeking to rig them. 

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