The opposition alliance of 20 political parties has rejected the December 30 general elections in Bangladesh as farcical and rigged. The opposition alliance has refused to accept the outcome of the elections and demands to hold fresh elections under impartial administration. The opposition alliance almost wiped out in the elections. The Awami League won nearly 90 seats in the elections.
The election violence killed at least 18 people as the supporters and members of contesting parties clashed with each other throughout the day. It was a seven week long election campaign marred by attacks on candidates and journalists. The government continued to arrest the members of opposition parties throughout the campaign.
Nearly 100 candidates belonging to the opposition parties announced to boycott the elections before the vote closed. They alleged that Awami League had rigged the elections to secure a record third consecutive term for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajid.
The main opposition party BNP led by former Prime Minister Khalid Zia now in the prison to serve a jail sentence decided to boycott the last elections which was won by Awami league without any resistance. The boycott of opposition parties helped the Awami League and Hasina Wajid to consolidate its position.
The convener of opposition alliance Kamal Hossain said that “We call upon the election commission to declare this farcical election void and demand a fresh election under a neutral government.”He told in a press conference that opposition alliance would hold a meeting on Monday to decide its next move. “I’m getting text messages of forged voting, illegal ballot stuffing from this morning every single minute,” Hossain said earlier in the day. “This is an absolute disgrace to our democracy.”
The electorate of more than 100 million voters, a third of them younger than 30, were asked to deliver its verdict on the decade-long rule of Hasina, 71, who has overseen record economic growth but undermined the country’s democratic institutions.
Authorities shut down 3G and 4G phone services to contain the spread of what they called propaganda. Opposition activists said the measure also prevented them from reporting any irregularities in voting.
Some media outlets were not allowed to enter the polling stations during the counting of votes. Bangladesh’s election commission told Reuters it was investigating allegations of vote-rigging coming from across the country. “Allegations are coming from across the country and those are under investigation,” said SM Asaduzzaman, a spokesman for the commission. “If we get any confirmation from our own channels then measures will be taken as per rules.”
Opposition groups said the campaign leading up to Sunday had been the most repressed in the country’s 47-year history. They claim more than 8,200 people opposed to Hasina were arrested and more than 12,000 injured.
Many political experts and analysts accuse Hasina Wajid for undermining the democracy and rule of law. “Democracy and development [have been] made to appear mutually exclusive, with the ruling party members and MPs going to the extent of rooting for development at the cost of democracy.”
Despite healthy economic numbers, analysts say inequality has widened and labour surveys show 35% of people aged between 20 and 29 are not working or studying. The Centre for Policy Dialogue, a think tank, says corruption during Hasina’s term has cost the country more than $2.5bn.
Kamal Hossain said Hasina had changed while in power. “The urge for power can make someone who’s human into something less than human,” he told the Associated Press in an interview.
The BNP, the most powerful force in the coalition, was accused of perpetrating human rights abuses during its most recent five-year term in power, which ended in 2009. Rights groups, however, say Hasina’s clampdown on dissent has been more systematic and effective. The BNP’s leader, Khaleda Zia, is in prison after being convicted twice this year of corruption.
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17 November, 2019