News

Election Campaigning Concludes in Bangladesh

Multimedia

Audio

Campaigning has ended in Bangladesh ahead of Monday's national election. The army-backed interim government lifted the state of emergency to allow a two-week campaign period. At the forefront are two rival former prime ministers. They have concluded their campaigns with blistering attacks on the other.

The two women who took turns governing Bangladesh during a chaotic 15-year period concluded their respective campaigns with warnings of dire consequences should their rival return to power.

Addressing a huge rally in the capital, Dhaka, former prime minister Khaleda Zia said, as a mother, she urges the people to vote for her Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

Zia promised the crowd, estimated at 100,000 people, a prosperous future for the impoverished nation. She also mentioned her rival, Sheik Hasina, accusing her Awami League of systematically pushing the country into chaos and ruin during its tenure.

Hasina finished her campaign with a rally in the port city of Chittagong, promising a digital revolution for Bangladesh by the year 2021.

A day earlier, at her own massive rally in Dhaka, Hasina expressed disdain for Zia's time in office.  

Hasina says her opponent uses the slogan "save the country, save the people." But her corrupt legacy was one of "kill the people, grab the money."

Security has been tight for the candidates amid concerns they have been targeted for assassination.

There have been some physical attacks on local candidates, and police have seized some explosives and arrested some alleged terrorists plotting to disrupt the election.  But overall, the level of reported violence has been lower than past campaigns.

The two women, known as the "Battling Begums" were freed from custody to contest the election. They had been arrested on graft charges as part of the caretaker government's bid to rid Bangladesh of its legacy of political corruption.

A third party leader, currently allied with the Awami League, former military dictator Hussain Muhammed Ershad, saw his motorcade attacked Saturday in the northern part of the country. Ershad, leader of the Jatiya Party, could hold the balance of power if neither of the top two parties wins a clear majority of parliamentary seats. Ershad, ironically, was ousted from power when Hasina and Zia joined to lead a popular revolt in 1990.

International monitors on the ground here say, so far, the process for this election seems credible. Officials of the interim government are expressing confidence violence will not seriously disrupt balloting by the 81 million eligible voters.  

 

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs