News / Asia

    Opposition Boycott Casts Doubt About Credibility of Bangladesh Elections

    Police try to stop activists of ruling party Bangladesh Awami League from attacking lawyers loyal to Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Bangladesh Jamaat-E-Islami during a protest inside the premises of Supreme Court in Dhaka, Dec. 29, 2013.
    Police try to stop activists of ruling party Bangladesh Awami League from attacking lawyers loyal to Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Bangladesh Jamaat-E-Islami during a protest inside the premises of Supreme Court in Dhaka, Dec. 29, 2013.
    Anjana Pasricha
    Bangladesh heads to the polls on Sunday but with opposition parties boycotting the election, there are questions about its credibility.

    Campaigns, rallies and banners - the usual signs of an election - are missing from the Bangladesh capital, Dhaka. There is little need for all this.

    With opposition parties boycotting the poll, the ruling Awami League party candidates have already won 154 of the 300 parliamentary seats being contested, making Sunday’s vote almost meaningless.

    Professor of International Relations at Dhaka University, Imtiaz Ahmed, says even some former allies of the ruling party have joined the boycott.

    “The very fact that more than 50 per cent of the seats where no election was held and not a single vote was cast, and they got elected, that has become a serious problem at this point. They got elected because there was only one candidate,” said Ahmed.

    The atmosphere in the country is volatile. Violence has spiraled since elections were announced in late November. Scores have been killed in street protests.

    Army troops have deployed to prevent more violence. Dhaka has been virtually blockaded from the rest of the country as authorities have suspended bus, train and ferry links into the city to foil street protests by opposition supporters.
        
    Opposition parties have refused to participate in the election because the government abandoned the past practice of holding them under an interim administration. It scrapped the system two years ago. Political analysts say it could be because losses in local elections indicated waning support for the ruling party.

    The United States, the European Union and the Commonwealth have declined to send observers for Sunday’s vote. They say conditions must be created for a transparent and inclusive poll and have urged the government to resolve the political impasse.

    Dhaka University professor Amena Mohsin hopes Prime Minister Sheikh Hasinia will ultimately agree to stand aside for a caretaker administration which could supervise new elections. 

    “The International community has already said these elections are not credible. Nobody is taking it seriously. Everybody is thinking this is just a stopgap. I think the international pressure and escalation of violence, that will force her [Prime minister Sheikh Hasina] to take these measures,” said Amena Mohsin.

    The political standoff over the polls comes amid heightened tensions in the country over a war crimes tribunal that has sentenced several Islamic leaders to death for their role in the 1971 war of independence.

    Political polarization is not new to Bangladesh. The country’s two main parties are headed by women - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and opposition leader Khaleda Zia - whose arch rivalry has cast a shadow on the country’s politics for decades. But political analysts say the present crisis is among the most serious the country has faced.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Enayet Mowla from: US
    January 02, 2014 5:04 PM
    A question has been raised about the credibility of the election as one of the main opposition parties has disagreed to participate in it. I seem to remember that on quite a few occasions in the past when one or the other important parties did not take part in elections when nobody thought about their lost credibility. Mr. Mukta Chinta is claiming from Dallas hiding his own name, that the children of corrupt politicians are taking shelter in US. I invite him to make a few inquiries in the Nasirabad area of Chittagong to find out who I was and what I used to do.

    by: Mukto Chinta from: Dallas, Texas
    January 02, 2014 2:10 PM
    Dictator Hasina is slowly eliminating democratic government in Bangladesh. Hasina's Awami League had been worst government in the history of Bangladesh. They robbed billions of dollar worth of Bangladeshi currency through scam from Bangladeshi share market. Their political employees killed 100's of thousands of Bangladeshi people for no reason. Now they are robbing basic right of Bangladeshi people --- right to vote. These politicians don't care about Bangladesh as they already sent their children to the west. Hasina's son Joy is based in Washington DC, USA and Hasina's daughter is based in Ontario, Canada. My question is how long these western countries will harbor corrupt politicians children from poor countries like Bangladesh and keep giving them western citizenship? Mean while the corrupt politician parents are keep robbing these 3rd world countries like Bangladesh.

    by: Kamrul Hassan from: Dhaka
    January 02, 2014 9:25 AM
    Hasina regime has committed all worst forms of crimes against humanity during last five year. They have detained opposition members,harassed,tortured and sometimes killed them in custody. Administration has been politicized from top to bottom. Hasina has set loyal in top posts of administration and military. If you just investigate you will find that senior officials are almost from Gopalganj, which is the home district of Sheikh Hasina.
    List of Hasina's criminal activities could be elongated for an encyclopedia of autocracy, but the key point is that Hasina has waning public support and she is more than sure a fair and free election will drowse him from her boat. That's why she is so scared to arrange an election under a party neutral government.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.