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

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More