News / Asia

Hasina Sworn In as Bangladesh Prime Minister

Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid, left, administers the oath to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, right, during her swearing in ceremony in Dhaka, Jan. 12, 2013.
Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid, left, administers the oath to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, right, during her swearing in ceremony in Dhaka, Jan. 12, 2013.
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VOA News
Sheikh Hasina was sworn in Sunday for her second straight term as Bangladesh's prime minister, following one of the country's most violent elections that left at least 18 people dead.

The victory of Hasina and the ruling Awami League was a foregone conclusion since the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, led by former prime minister Khaleda Zia, boycotted the polls. Awami League candidates ran unopposed in more than half of the country's constituencies.

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

Analysts said the new government could be short-lived since the prime minister faces a deepening political crisis and mounting calls for new polls from the international community and the opposition.

Sheikh Hasina also served as prime minister from 1996 to 2001.

Voter turnout was extremely low 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 month's election, but their presence largely failed to stem the violence. Many of the dead at election time were protesters fired on by police. However, at least two of those killed were polling station workers.

International observers refused to send monitors for the election.

The opposition had demanded Prime Minister Hasina step down and hand over power to an interim government to oversee the election. She refused, saying the traditional practice of doing so has led to political unrest.

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

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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