News / Asia

18 Die in Bangladesh Election Day Violence

  • 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.

Bangladesh Elections Marred by Clashes, Low Voter Turnout

VOA News
Preliminary results Monday from the parliamentary elections in Bangladesh indicate the ruling Awami League has won the elections, although the outcome was never in doubt because the main opposition party boycotted the poll. Opposition protesters torched polling stations and destroyed ballots as violence across the country left at least 18 people dead.

Officials say voter turnout was extremely low Sunday and voting was halted at more than 150 polling stations due to attacks by activists.

Tens of thousands of troops were deployed across the country in the lead-up to the election, but their presence largely failed to stem Sunday's violence.

The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party urged voters to boycott what it called a "farcical" election. That move led to the Awami candidates' sweep to victory as they ran unopposed in more than half of the country's constituencies.

International observers refused to send monitors to the election.

The opposition, led by former prime minister Khaleda Zia, had demanded Prime Minister 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 politics in Bangladesh for the last two decades.

The opposition has called for a two-day nationwide strike starting Monday 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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