Hasina Wins Three-Quarters of Seats in Bangladesh Election, Opposition Boycotts

Hasina Wins Three-Quarters of Seats in Bangladesh Election, Opposition Boycotts

Bangladesh, Hasina, election, opposition boycott, Awami League, parliament, one-party institution, human rights abuses, democratic process

Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has secured a fifth term in power as her party, the Awami League, won three-quarters of the seats in parliament. The election, however, was marred by an opposition boycott, with initial reports suggesting a low turnout of around 40 percent.

Moniruzzaman Talukder, a joint secretary of the Election Commission, confirmed the Awami League's victory, stating that they had won 223 seats. Analysts believe that with the support of allied parties, Hasina's actual control over the 300-seat parliament is even higher.

Experts have described the current parliament as a "one-party institution," as only the allies of the Awami League had the opportunity to participate. Hasina's government has been praised for achieving remarkable economic growth in a country that once faced widespread poverty. However, it has also faced criticism for human rights abuses and a crackdown on the opposition.

The Awami League faced minimal competition in the seats it contested, but it strategically avoided fielding candidates in a few constituencies to maintain the appearance of a multi-party system.

The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), which has experienced significant setbacks due to mass arrests, called for a general strike and refused to participate in what they deemed a "sham election." BNP head Tarique Rahman, who currently resides in exile in Britain, labeled the election result a "disgrace to the democratic aspirations of Bangladesh," citing disturbing evidence to support his claims.

According to Meenakshi Ganguly from Human Rights Watch, the government failed to instill confidence among opposition supporters regarding the fairness of the polls, leading to concerns of further crackdowns.

For many years, politics in Bangladesh has been dominated by the rivalry between Sheikh Hasina, daughter of the country's founding leader, and Khaleda Zia, a two-time former premier and the wife of a former military ruler. Hasina has been the clear winner since her return to power in 2009, despite allegations of irregularities in the subsequent elections. Khaleda Zia, currently in poor health at a hospital in Dhaka, was convicted of corruption in 2018. Her son, Tarique Rahman, now leads the BNP from exile.

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