News / Asia

Bangladesh Election Results Leave Opposition Cold

Bangladeshi police stand guard in front of the house of former Prime Minister and main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leader Khaleda Zia during a 48-hour nationwide strike called by her party, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Jan. 6, 2014.
Bangladeshi police stand guard in front of the house of former Prime Minister and main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leader Khaleda Zia during a 48-hour nationwide strike called by her party, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Jan. 6, 2014.
Anjana Pasricha
In Bangladesh, the ruling Awami League party was declared the winner of a violence-plagued election in which victory was a foregone conclusion due to an opposition boycott. However, fear of more political violence stalks the country as opposition parties reject the election.    
    
This was one election in which the counting of votes did not matter because more than half the seats were uncontested. Nevertheless, preliminary results confirmed Monday that ruling Awami League candidates won more than three quarters (232 according to preliminary counts) of the 300 elected seats, giving it a sweeping majority in parliament. Its allies will control most of the other seats.    

Analysts say the election chaos was not un expected.

“I think the election came out exactly as we expected it to,” Michael Kugelman, an analyst at the Woodrow Wilson Center, told VOA’s Bangla service. “There was absolutely no doubt about who is going to be the victor. And I think it is very hard to make any argument that it is a fair election.”

Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of Transparency International Bangladesh, told VOA’s Bangla service that the future is uncertain.

“We have seen a violent picture,” he said. “The only hope is that as the [prime minister] and some other ministers have said earlier that after the tenth parliament elections, there may be some dialogue.”

The opposition, which did not participate in the elections, called on the government to nullify the vote. It says low turnout confirmed the election was a farce.

But Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu said the turnout did not matter -- what was important is that people defied violence.


With the situation volatile, troops continue to patrol streets in Dhaka. Traffic was thin a day after the voting.

The opposition has called for a nationwide shutdown until Wednesday - the latest in a series of strikes and blockades that have brought the country to a virtual standstill.

Dhaka University professor Amena Mohsin said the Awami League will need to find a way to resolve the political deadlock and put a stop to the violence. 

“What other option do we have? There is tremendous pressure from the civil society to open up negotiations, from the business community," Mohsin noted. "It is like low intensity conflict is going on in the country for the last so many months.  Prior to the election it was regarded as pre election violence, but you can’t have post election violence for five years.”

Political observers and most media have denounced the polls as futile. The Daily Star newspaper called it the bloodiest election in the country’s history and termed the Awami League victory “hollow.” Scores had been killed in the run-up to the vote, several more died on polling day.

The country’s flourishing garment industry is among those hit by the political instability.

  • Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina speaks during a press conference after her Awami League won elections, Dhaka, Jan. 6, 2014.
  • A polling officer pours ballot papers from a box onto a table to count during parliamentary elections in Dhaka, Jan. 5, 2014.
  • Protesters shout slogans during a clash with police in Gaibandha, Bangladesh, Jan. 5, 2014.
  • Activists of Bangladesh Jamaat-E-Islami set fire to an office of ruling party Bangladesh Awami League during a clash in Narayanganj, Jan. 5, 2014.
  • Election materials are set ablaze in front of a polling booth after an attack by protesters in Bogra, Bangladesh, Jan. 5, 2014.
  • A girl watches people entering a polling booth as army soldiers stand guard during parliamentary elections in Dhaka, Jan. 5, 2014.
  • Activists of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party and Bangladesh Nationalist Party chase activists of the Awami League during a clash in Rajshahi, Jan. 5, 2014.
  • Army soldiers patrol a street during the election in Dhaka, Jan. 5, 2014.
  • A police officer kicks a protester during a clash after protesters attacked and set fire to polling booths, Bogra, Bangladesh, Jan. 5, 2014.
  • Villagers tend to a man after he was injured during a clash with police in Gaibandha, Bangladesh, Jan. 5, 2014.

“We are totally directionless, confused, feeling dejected because nothing is moving on the road," complained Dhaka-based businessman Mamun Rashid. "We cannot take delivery of the goods from Chittagong port or Mongla port nor can we sell our produce, products to various markets, locally and internationally. Many garment manufacturers, they are being forced to airlift their goods.”

Political analysts say the biggest stumbling block in trying to resolve the country’s political stalemate is the bitter hostility and personal animosity between the two women who lead the country’s main parties: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of the Awami League and former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist party.

VOA Bangla Service contributed to this article.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

Ali Regained Title in Historic Fight 40 Years Ago

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Hasan from: Bangladesh
January 07, 2014 5:20 AM
How on earth I can clearly see a graph showing that BNP scored 62 seat in that so-called election! I doubt whether it is any official report. Surely poor work.
They (Opposition Party BNP) even not submitted any nomination paper.


by: Tazakhobor from: Bangladesh
January 06, 2014 7:21 PM
BNP didn't even participate in this election. How come your Graph Showing BNP got 62? I hope you will correct the mistake.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid