Bangladeshis will vote on today (Dec 30) in its 11th general elections, which are going to be held amid widespread violence, deep mistrust and wrangling between the government and the opposition. With over 100 million registered voters and 300 seats in parliament, this is one of the largest national elections anywhere in the world this year.
It is predicted that the longest serving prime minister in the history of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina Wazed will be re-elected as prime minister as her party, the Awami League (AL), leads the Grand Alliance coalition, which is pitted against the Jatiya Oikya Front (or National Unity Front), led by the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).
The Awami League and BNP are leading their own alliances in the country’s 11th parliamentary polls since independence in 1971. The BNP, whose leader Khaleda Zia is in prison on graft charges, has accused the election commission of bias during the electoral campaign — a charge rejected by its chief commissioner, KM Nurul Huda.
Bangladesh stepped up security Saturday in a bid to contain violence during a general election expected to see Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina win a record fourth term. Authorities have deployed around 600,000 police, army and other security forces ahead of Sunday’s vote, a senior official said, following a deadly campaign marred by clashes. The forces — which also include the elite Rapid Action Battalion, navy, border and coast guards and auxiliary police units — are providing security to some 40,000 election booths. “We have ensured the highest level of security in Bangladesh as per the capacity of the country,” Rafiqul Islam of the election commission told AFP.
The election commission has also imposed restrictions on public transport and cars on polling day in an effort to maintain security and “conduct the election smoothly”, he said.
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17 November, 2019