Zia ur-Rahman, Khaleda, or Khaleda Zia (käˈlĕdä zēˈä ōr-rämänˈ) [key], 1945–, Bangladesh political leader. In 1960 she married Zia ur-Rahman, an army officer who founded the Bangladesh Nationalist party (BNP), became (1977) president of Bangladesh, and was assassinated in 1981. Two years after Lt. Gen. Hussain Mohammad Ershad's 1982 coup, Zia became BNP leader and was placed under house arrest seven different times. When Ershad resigned (1990), the BNP's seven-party alliance swept the elections, and in 1991 Khaleda Zia became Bangladesh's first woman prime minister. However, by 1994 nearly all of parliament's opposition members had resigned to protest the rampant corruption in Zia's government. In the highly questionable 1996 elections Zia was returned to office, but strong resistance led to her resignation, and Sheikh Hasina Wazed and her Awami League came to power after new elections. In 2001 Zia and the BLP scored another landslide victory, and she again became prime minister. but beginning in 2003 rallies, strikes, and bombings wracked Bangladesh. Zia's government resigned in 2006 in anticipation of the 2007 elections, but a military-backed caretaker government assumed control. Zia was accused first of murder and then of corruption and was jailed for a year (2007–8). In the Dec., 2008, parliamentary elections Zia and the BNP lost to the Awami League; the BNP boycotted the Jan., 2014, parliamentary elections.
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