Published On: Mon, Dec 31st, 2018

Bangladesh Election: Sheikh Hasina Wins New Term As Prime Minister

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

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

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.

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.

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

The lead-up to the election saw violence between rival supporters and a crackdown on dissent by a government that critics say has only grown more authoritarian during its 10 years in power.

Who were the contenders?

Sheikh Hasina’s long-term rival, Khaleda Zia, was sent to prison on corruption charges earlier this year and barred from competing in the vote, in a case which she claimed was politically motivated.

In Ms Zia’s absence, Kamal Hossain, who was previously both an AL minister and Hasina ally, leads the main opposition grouping, the Jatiya Oikya Front, which includes Ms Zia’s Bangladesh National Party (BNP).

However, the 81-year-old lawyer, who drew up the country’s constitution, did not stand in the election.

The BNP boycotted the last vote in 2014, making Sunday’s poll the first to involve all the major parties in 10 years.