Bangladesh’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, has won an absolute majority and secured a fourth consecutive term in the general election, as predicted, despite poor voter turnout and a boycott by the main opposition party. Hasina’s ruling Awami League party won 167 out of 227 seats in the election, with the outcome of the remaining seats yet to be announced. Hasina secured 249,962 votes from her constituency in Gopalganj, Dhaka, while her nearest rival secured a mere 469 votes.
Bangladeshis largely stayed away from Sunday’s election, which was marred by violence, with turnout at about 40% compared to over 80% in the last election in 2018. The Bangladesh National Party (BNP), the primary opposition, abstained from the polls in protest of Hasina’s refusal to step down and let an impartial body oversee the general election. Hasina, who has been serving as prime minister since 1996, is the daughter of Bangladesh’s founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and has been credited with reviving the economy and the garments industry.
Rights groups have warned of a one-party rule by Hasina’s Awami League in Bangladesh, a country of 170 million people. Meanwhile, the US and Western nations have called for a free and fair election, the 12th since Pakistan’s independence in 1971, Reuters reported.
Polls were held for 299 directly elected parliamentary seats with close to 120 million voters eligible to choose from nearly 2,000 contestants. Election to one seat will be held later after an independent contestant dies ahead of the vote due to natural causes. Among the ruling party winners were actor Ferdous Ahmed and former Bangladesh cricket captains Shakib Al Hasan and Mashrafe Mortaza. Independent candidates, many of them Awami League party members of various ranks, won 49 seats.