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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid