Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League looked set for a landslide victory in Sunday’s General Elections. When reports last came in, the Awami League-led grand alliance was leading in 19 seats in the 300-member Jatiya Sangsad while the Opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led Jatiya Oikya Front (National Unity Front) was yet to open its account, The Daily Star reported.
The Opposition rejected the initial results and called on the Election Commission to hold fresh polls under a “non-partisan” government, the Dhaka Tribune reported. “More than 100 Oikya Front candidates have boycotted the election midway, sensing vote dacoity,” the front’s chief Kamal Hossain said at a press conference in Dhaka. “In these circumstances, we are demanding a fresh election under a non-partisan government and an impartial Election Commission.”
Bangladesh Nationalist Party General Secretary Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir called the elections “a cruel mockery of democracy”.
Earlier in the day, at least 12 people were killed and 64 were injured in election-related violence. According to the Election Commission, 1,848 candidates contested 299 of the 300 parliamentary seats. Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda said the polls were “peaceful overall” apart from a few “sporadic incidents” of violence.
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party is without its chief Khaleda Zia and her son Tarique Rahman, who is the party’s acting chief. Zia, currently serving a 10-year prison sentence in a corruption case, has been barred from contesting elections while Rahman is reportedly in London to evade law-enforcement agencies. He was sentenced to life for allegedly masterminding a grenade attack on a rally in 2004 that killed 24 Awami League leaders and activists. A victory for the Awami League will put Hasina in power for a third successive term, and a record fourth term overall.