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Bangladesh PM Defends Re-Election Win

Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina says her re-election is legitimate despite the vote being boycotted by the main opposition party and the polls marred by violence and low turnout.

Election officials said Monday that the ruling Awami League party won more than three quarters of the 300 elected parliamentary seats in Sunday's vote.

The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party boycotted what it called a "farcical" election, so Awami candidates ran unopposed in more than half of the country's constituencies.

Ms. Hasina defended her party's win, saying there is no valid reason for complaint.



"I do not believe there is any scope for raising a complaint concerning this election. People have voted spontaneously and it is because of their vote we have been elected. And god willing, we will form the government and guide the country."



Violence Sunday left at least 18 people dead and least three more were killed in lingering fighting on Monday.



Election officials say voter turnout was around 40 percent, although some monitoring groups put the figure much lower. Turnout in the last election in 2008 was above 80 percent.

International observers refused to send monitors to the election.

The U.S. State Department said it was disappointed by the election and said the results to not appear to credibly express the will of the people.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he regrets that the participants did not reach an agreement that could have produced a peaceful, inclusive election.

The main opposition party, led by former prime minister Khaleda Zia, had demanded Sheikh Hasina step down and hand over power to an interim government to oversee the election. Prime Minister Hasina refused, saying the traditional practice of doing so has led to political unrest.

The two women have dominated Bangladesh politics for the last two decades.

The opposition has called for a two-day nationwide strike to protest the vote.

More than 150 people have died nationwide in recent political violence, most of them in the past two months.

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