Bangladesh election: PM Sheikh Hasina wins landslide in disputed vote

PM Sheikh Hasina, who has been in power since 2009, casts her ballot on Sunday
PM Sheikh Hasina, who has been in power since 2009, casts her ballot on Sunday

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has secured her third consecutive term with a landslide victory, Bangladesh’s Election Commission said on Monday.

Her ruling party and its allies have won 288 of the 300 parliamentary seats contested, surpassing its previous election wins.

The opposition has condemned the vote as “farcical,” marred by violence, intimidation and vote rigging claims.

They won just seven seats and have demanded a new vote.

Bangladesh’s parliament has 350 seats in total, 50 of which are reserved for women and allotted proportional to the overall vote.

“We urge the election commission to void this farcical result immediately,” opposition leader Kamal Hossain said.

“We are demanding that a fresh election is held under a neutral government as early as possible.”

The Bangladesh Election Commission told Reuters news agency that it had heard vote-rigging allegations from “across the country” and would investigate.

At least 17 people have been killed in clashes between ruling party supporters and the opposition.

What are the allegations?

Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League has run Bangladesh since 2009, but one of the leading opposition parties has accused it of using stuffed ballot boxes.

A spokesman for the Bangladesh National Party (BNP) alleged there were “irregularities” in 221 of the 300 seats being contested.

Soon before polls opened, a BBC correspondent saw filled ballot boxes at a polling centre in the port city of Chittagong. The presiding officer declined to comment.

Only ruling party polling agents were present at that and several other polling centres in the second-largest city of the country.

Human Rights Watch South Asia director Meenakshi Ganguly said on Twitterthat “with serious allegations of voter intimidation, restrictions on opposition polling agents and several candidates seeking a re-poll, there are concerns about the credibility” of the election.

At least 47 candidates from the main opposition alliance withdrew before polling closed, alleging vote rigging and intimidation.

Activists, observers and the opposition party had warned that the vote would not be fair, but the governing party accused the opposition of peddling false claims.

Ms Hasina told the BBC on Friday: “On the one hand, they are placing allegations. On the other hand, they are attacking our party workers, leaders. That is the tragedy in this country.”

Source: BBC

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