Sheikh Hasina Set for Fourth Term as Party Sweeps Bangladesh Polls, Oppn Seeks Fresh Vote

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.”

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.

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.

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