President Hussain Muhammad Ershad, beset by increasingly violent opposition protests, offered Monday to resign before presidential elections in June and to lift a state of emergency.

The 60-year-old former army general said on state television he is willing to hand over power to an opposition nominee prior to the presidential elections and also hold June elections to the Parliament, now dominated by his party.There was no immediate reaction from the major opposition parties, which launched the protests after Ershad announced he would seek re-election next year.

The government says six people have died in the country since the state of emergency was imposed, but opposition leaders put the death toll at 75, with 3,000 people wounded and 5,000 arrested.