Bangladesh election: Sheikh Hasina to retain power after landslide win

Sheikh Hasina eyes third term as Bangladesh goes to polls
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gestures after casting her vote in the morning during the general election in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Sunday. Photo: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha/Handout via REUTERS
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Dhaka: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's alliance has won the parliamentary vote with a thumping majority, officials said Monday, even as the main opposition rejected the "farcical" elections which claimed 18 lives and left over 200 injured, making it one of the deadliest polls in the country.

The ruling Awami League-led coalition has won over 267 seats in the 300-member House, according to the Election Commission (EC).

The opposition National Unity Front (UNF) led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) - which has been out of power for 12 years and had boycotted the 10th general elections in 2014 - managed to secure only eight seats, media reports said.

The opposition Oikya Front demanded that the EC immediately scrap the "farcical election" and hold a fresh one under a non-partisan interim government.

Front chief and veteran lawyer Kamal Hossain called the polls a "farce", citing widespread polling frauds, bdnews24.com reported.

Sheikh Hasina eyes third term as Bangladesh goes to polls
Members of the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) are seen on duty in front of Bangladesh Government Printing Press ahead of the 11th general election in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Saturday. Photo: Reuters/Mohammad Ponir Hossain

BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, who steered the party in the absence of imprisoned former prime minister Khaleda Zia, described the polls as a "cruel farce".

He said the elections proved that free and fair polls were not possible under a partisan government.

The EC confirmed the complete result of the constituency in southwestern Gopalganj from where Hasina won, bagging 2,29,539 votes, while her BNP opponent got only 123 votes.

The National Unity Front (NUF) is a coalition of parties, including BNP, Gono Forum, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal-JSD, Nagorik Oikya Front and Krishak Sramik Janata League.

Rejecting the polls, Hossain said "we have reports that fraudulence took place in almost all centres".

While Hasina was seeking re-election for the fourth term as the prime minister, her chief rival Zia, who is reportedly partially paralysed, faces an uncertain future in a Dhaka jail.

The EC said they have received over a hundred complaints from candidates throughout the country amid reports of violence.

At least 18 people, including a member of a security agency, have been killed and more than 200 others injured in poll-related violence, making it one of the deadliest polls in the country, the Daily Star reported.

Reports said most of the dead were ruling party activists, while others were workers of the BNP or its allies.

Over 600,000 security personnel including several thousand soldiers and paramilitary border guards were deployed across the nation for the election in which 10.41 crore people were eligible to vote.

Sheikh Hasina eyes third term as Bangladesh goes to polls
Law enforcement officials carry electronic voting materials as they distribute them to different voting centre ahead of 11th general election in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Saturday. Photo: Reuters/Mohammad Ponir Hossain
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