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

US Firms Concerned About China's New Cyber Regulations

New rules would require technology companies doing business in financial sector to hand over their source code, adopt Chinese encryption algorithms More

WHO Focus on Ebola Shifts to Ending Outbreak

Focus to be less on building facilities and more on efforts to find infected people, manage their cases, engage with communities and ensure proper burials More

US Scientist Who Conceived of Groundbreaking Laser Technology Dies

Charles Townes, Nobel laureate, laser co-creator paved way for other scientific discoveries: CDs, eye surgery, metal cutters to name a few technologies that rely on lasers 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.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid