7:47 am - Monday December 11, 2017

Bangladesh ruling party leads Sunday’s election marred by opposition boycott, violence

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Bangladesh ruling party leads Sunday's election marred by opposition boycott, violence
Bangladesh ruling party leads Sunday's election marred by opposition boycott, violence

Dhaka – Bangladesh’s Awami League (AL) of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed has secured a de-facto victory in Sunday’s general elections, marred by opposition boycott and widespread violence.

Out of 300 seats, Hasina’s AL has won 232 seats, which are more than enough to form a government, and was leading in most of the remaining constituencies.

Mired in controversy, Bangladesh’s 10th parliamentary election was held in just 147 out of 300 seats in 59 out of 64 districts of the country on Sunday, as 153 candidates have been elected unopposed amid boycott by ex-Prime Minister Khaleda Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and 17 its allies.

127 of the winners without a contest belong to Hasina’s AL party and it needed merely 24 seats to win a majority from the remaining 147 seats where polling started Sunday morning.

The final results of 139 seats out of the 147 in the 10th general elections have been announced, while results of the rest eight seats have not been announced as elections were suspended there due to violence in a number of centers.

According to results from the Election Commission, AL leads in Sunday’s parliamentary election winning 105 seats of 147 seats.

Jatiya Party of former military strongman HM Ershad, who ruled Bangladesh for nearly nine years from 1982 to 1990, won 31 seats, including 13 on Sunday, and others took 27 seats till filing of this report.

Both Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Ershad, who reportedly failed to quit election, won.

The Election Commission has broadcast live election results from its premises through radio and television channels as soon as they reached the center.

The EC officials said polls might be held there if votes of suspended voting centers were more than the margin of votes between the winner and his nearest contender in a seat.

Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad identified boycott by some political parties and thick fog as reasons for low voter turnout in the 10th parliamentary election.

“I have no expectation on final turnout rate. Elections were held peacefully in 97 percent centers,” he said in a press briefing early Monday .

He said voting will be rearranged at those polling centers where it has been postponed, by Jan. 24.

Voting began at 8 a.m. Sunday and ended at 4 p.m. amid wide spread violence.

Less than an hour after the parliament elections concluded amid wide spread violence, Bangladesh’s main opposition has called a nationwide 48-hour strike form Monday morning demanding cancellation of Sunday’s general polls.

Osman Faruq, a spokesperson for BNP, announced the strike at a press briefing, saying the strike also aimed at protesting “death of 21 opposition men on Sunday”. Faruq termed the parliament elections as a “farce” .

He said the ongoing nationwide blockade of rail, roads and waterways will continue alongside the shutdown.

Some 21 opposition parties, including ex-Prime Minister Khaleda Zia’s BNP, boycotted the elections over Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s refusal to introduce a non-party interim government to oversee the elections.

Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, BNP acting secretary general, in a statement Sunday said Bangladesh people have said no to the “one- sided” parliamentary election.

But Hasina’s ruling Bangladesh Awami League party has expressed satisfaction over voter turnout during parliamentary election.

To ensure a fair election, more than 400,000 law enforcement personnel and over 50,000 soldiers were deployed across the country.

Despite beefed-up security measures, Bangladesh Election Commission has been forced to postpone vote in scores of polling centers due to incidents of snatching and torching of ballot papers and boxes the ballots.

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