Bangladesh Polls 2018: Thumping victory for PM Sheikh Hasina
Dhaka: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has registered a tremendous victory in general elections held on Sunday, as her party, Awami League (AL), has won 287 of the 298 Parliamentary seats.
She has return to power for an unprecedented third consecutive time after giving giving the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) a tough time which somehow managed to win just seven seats.
However, the opposition has rejected the results as “farcical” over claims of vote-rigging and called for fresh elections under a neutral caretaker government.
The Election Commission has said it was investigating allegations of vote rigging across the country
Hasina would become Prime Minister for an unprecedented fourth term after AL secured win in 259 constituencies of the 300-seat parliament, according to results released by the Election Commission for 298 seats, according to a source.
Election Commission (EC) Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed has been announcing the results from the commission headquarters in Dhaka since the voting ended at 1600 hours (Bangladesh time) on Sunday.
The ruling party is followed by its key ally the Jatiya Party at 20.
The BNP (Bangladesh Nationalist Party), a key ally of the Opposition alliance, has suffered a massive rout with just five seats plus two of its allies in the Jatiya Oikya Front.
Opposition Oikya Front chief Kamal Hossain called the polls a ‘farce’ and demanded a fresh vote citing widespread polling frauds.
Early indications of the massive margin of the victory for the Awami League were visible in the race contested by Bangladesh’s prime minister for the Gopalganj-3 seat.
According to the official results announced by EC Secretary Ahmed, Hasina received 229,529 votes from the 246,514 voters in the constituency.
The paddy sheaf candidate for the Gopalganj-3 set was S.M. Zilani, who received only 123 votes. The turnout at Gopalganj for the race was 93 per cent, the EC secretary said.
Bangladesh went to the polls between 0800 hours and 1600 hours on Sunday. Voting was suspended at 22 polling centers due to irregularities.
At least 17 people were killed in election violence in 11 districts across the country.
The Jatiya Oikya Front rejected the election results and called upon the Election Commission to hold new elections under a neutral government.
The alliance chief Kamal Hossain said they had received similar reports of voting frauds from nearly all voting centers in the country.
“You must cancel this election right away,” Kamal urged the EC. “We reject the so-called results and demand a new election under a neutral government.”
Meanwhile, the EC said it would hold a fresh vote for one seat where the poll was marred by violence. Another constituency, where a candidate died days before the election, will also go to the polls in the next few days.
Referring to the allegations of voting fraud South Asia director for Human Rights Watch, Meenakshi Ganguly Tweeted: “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 Bangladesh elections.”