DHAKA (AFP) - More than 200,000 local and foreign observers will monitor landmark elections in Bangladesh next week, making it the most closely watched vote in the country's history, an official said Monday. Election commission spokesman S.M. Asaduzzaman said foreign observers, including those from the European Union, the Commonwealth and the United Nations, made up more than 500 of the total. Anyone with observer status was free to visit polling centres throughout the country, he said. "This is going to be the fairest elections in the country's history. More than 200,000 elections observers " the biggest in the country's history " will monitor the polls," he said. The Dec 29 elections are the first in the impoverished country since 2001 and will transfer power to an elected govt after nearly two years of emergency rule by a military-backed regime. It has created a digital electoral list, arming every one of the country's 81 million voters with a photo identification card, a move that took a year to complete and eliminated 13 million fake names. The government has also deployed some 50,000 troops across the country to prevent violence and intimidation. The current authorities came to power in January 2007 after months of clashes between supporters of the two main political parties, the Awami League and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, brought the country to a standstill. The government last Wednesday lifted a state of emergency, imposed 23 months earlier when it came to power.