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

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    Clinton, Sanders Fight for African American Votes

    Some African American lawmakers lining up to support Clinton in face of perceived surge by Sanders in race for Democratic nomination in presidential campaign

    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.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.