Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s ruling party won Bangladesh’s election with a large majority, the country’s Election Commission said early on Monday, giving Mrs. Hasina a third straight term following a vote that the opposition rejected as flawed.
At least 17 people were killed in Bangladesh in election-related violence on Sunday, according to the police, as voters went to the polls to decide an election tainted by widespread allegations of rigging by the government.
The win by Mrs. Hasina’s Awami League, which was reported by the secretary of the Election Commission Secretariat in a televised speech, would consolidate her decade-long rule over Bangladesh. Mrs. Hasina is credited with improving the economy and promoting development, but has also been accused of rampant human rights abuses, a crackdown on the news media and suppressing dissent — charges she denies.
The head of the opposition coalition, Kamal Hossain, said the alliance had asked the Election Commission to order a fresh vote under a neutral administration “as soon as possible,” alleging Sunday’s poll was unfair and that Mrs. Hasina’s government never granted her opponents a level playing field.
“The whole election was completely manipulated. It should be canceled,” Mr. Hossain, 82, said in an interview at his residence in the capital, Dhaka, late Sunday. Candidates of the alliance reported seeing ballot-stuffing and vote-rigging by ruling party activists, who also barred opposition polling agents from voting centers, Mr. Hossain said.
“We’ve had bad elections in the past, but I must say that it is unprecedented how bad this particular election was,” he said. “The minimum requirements of free and fair election are absent.”
The Awami League won 287 of the 298 seats for which results have been declared in the 300-seat Parliament, the Election Commission said. The main opposition, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, which boycotted the last poll in 2014, won just six seats.
The commission said it had received allegations of vote-rigging from “across the country,” which it was investigating. A spokesman at the agency declined to say whether those investigations would affect the election result.
The commission said it would hold a new vote for one seat where the poll was marred by violence. Another constituency, where a candidate died days before the election, will also go to the polls in the next few days.(Reuters)