The President's proclamation to withdraw nearly two years of emergency rule in Bangladesh came into effect on Wednesday, paving the way for reinstatement of the suspended fundamental rights ahead of the December 29 parliamentary elections. In a notification issued on Monday, Bangladesh President Iajuddin Ahmed ordered the withdrawal of the state of emergency, which he imposed in January last year following months of violent nationwide political strikes over election reform. The lifting of the emergency will also give candidates the freedom to conduct canvassing for the elections, which hold key in restoring democracy in Bangladesh. Leaders of the two main political parties have been demanding lifting of the emergency so that free and fair elections could be conducted in this south Asian country which witnessed parliamentary democracy since 1991 following a pro-democracy movement. Meanwhile, Chief of Army Staff General Moeen U Ahmed said that armed forces will be deployed in several areas to ensure that voters exercise their franchise without any fear. "Army will work as striking force enabling a voter to go to the election centre without any fear and the voters should feel free to cast votes at their own choice," said Moeen . The military-backed Caretaker government led by Iajuddin proclaimed the state of emergency on January 11, 2007, exercising the authority vested upon him by the Constitution.