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Tens of thousands of people rejoicing at the resignation of President Hussain Muhammad Ershad ignored security cordons yesterday and marched through the capital Dhaka. Many carried portraits of assassinated presidents Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Gen. Ziaur Rahman, whose daughter and wife spearheaded a campaign to topple Mr. Ershad, the country's longest-serving ruler.

Witnesses said celebrations would continue until Ershad handed power to a caretaker vice president.

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Backstage, key opposition leaders held crucial meetings in a scramble to find a temporary successor to Ershad who resigned Tuesday, bowing to demands that he step down.

When he resigned Ershad called a parliament sesssion for Saturday to name the vice president to head a caretaker government until elections are held. Ershad said that parliamentary elections would be held before a presidential poll and he would run as presidential candidate for his Jatiya Party.

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