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Bangladesh’s Ruling Party Wins in Landslide Triumph

2018-12-30
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Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina flashes the victory sign after casting her vote, as her daughter, Saima Wazed Hossain (first from left), and sister, Sheikh Rehana, look on at a polling station in Dhaka, Dec. 30, 2018.
Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina flashes the victory sign after casting her vote, as her daughter, Saima Wazed Hossain (first from left), and sister, Sheikh Rehana, look on at a polling station in Dhaka, Dec. 30, 2018.
AFP

An alliance led by Bangladesh’s Awami League won Sunday’s national polls in a landslide, taking at least 253 parliamentary seats out of 299 up for grabs in the first vote contested in a decade, according to provisional figures from election officials.

The National Unity Front (NUF), a newly formed opposition alliance led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) – Awami’s traditional rival – won only six seats, including four for BNP, the Election Commission said as it released results for 281 seats.

The Grand Alliance, whose ballot symbol is a boat, easily surpassed the minimum 151-seat simple majority needed to retain control of parliament, according to results released by Helal Uddin Ahmad, secretary of the Election Commission.

The BNP was making its first electoral bid to remove Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Awami party from power since it boycotted the last general election, held in 2014.

The provisional outcome also showed the Jatiya Party having eclipsed the opposition NUF bloc by winning 18 seats with candidates who ran as independents. Jatiya also had 25 candidates running under the Grand Alliance led by Awami.

Among the big names who won their constituencies were Sheikh Hasina; Mirza Fakrul Islam Alamgir, the secretary general of BNP; and former President H.M. Ershad, who leads Jatiya.

Helal Uddin Ahmad, the secretary of Bangladesh’s Election Commission, speaks during a press conference after polls closed in the 11th general election, Dec. 30, 2018. [Kamran Reza Chowdhury/BenarNews]
Helal Uddin Ahmad, the secretary of Bangladesh’s Election Commission, speaks during a press conference after polls closed in the 11th general election, Dec. 30, 2018. [Kamran Reza Chowdhury/BenarNews]

The ruling party dominated voting in Dhaka, the nation’s capital, an official said.

“Among the 15 seats in Dhaka, AL wins 13 seats and the Jatiya Party wins two seats. BNP and the [National Unity Front] didn't get any seats from Dhaka,” K.M. Ali Azam, the divisional commissioner of Dhaka, told BenarNews.

Up to 104.2 million voters were eligible to cast ballots for 299 parliamentary seats in Sunday’s election.

The race consisted of 1,733 candidates representing 39 registered parties and another 128 running as independents, according to the Election Commission.

Numbers reflecting the turnout for Sunday’s election were not immediately available, but the streets of Dhaka were largely empty and queues for the ballot box were light after the polls opened on Sunday morning.

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