Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has secured a fourth term with a landslide victory. Her alliance won Bangladesh’s election with a thumping majority, the country’s Election Commission said early on Monday, giving her a third straight term following a vote that the opposition rejected as rigged.
The alliance dominated by Hasina’s Awami League, seen as close to regional power India, won 287 of the 298 seats for which results have been declared for the 300-strong parliament, the commission said.nThe main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), which boycotted the last poll in 2014, won just six seats.
Hasina, 71, has been lauded for boosting economic growth in the poor South Asian nation during her decade in power and for welcoming Rohingya refugees fleeing a military crackdown in neighbouring Myanmar. But critics accuse her of authoritarianism and crippling the opposition — including arch-rival and BNP leader Khaleda Zia who is serving 17 years in prison on graft charges.
Raising minimum wages for workers in Bangladesh’s massive garments industry, the world’s second biggest after China, could be one of her first tasks after she takes office, party leaders have said. Hasina will meet foreign journalists and poll observers at her official residence later on Monday.
Opposition leader Kamal Hossain said their alliance, the National Unity Front led by the BNP, had called on the Election Commission to order a fresh vote under a neutral administration “as soon as possible”, alleging Sunday’s poll was flawed.
At least 17 were people were killed as the vote took place, police said, after a violent campaign season during which the opposition alleged the government denied it a level playing field.
The Election Commission said it was investigating allegations of vote rigging from across the Muslim-majority country of 165 million people. A spokesman declined to say if those probes would affect the election result.
Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director for Human Rights Watch, said on Twitter: “With serious allegations of voter intimidation, restrictions on opposition polling agents and several candidates seeking a re-poll, there are concerns about the credibility of the Bangladesh elections.”