x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Hasina wins Bangladesh election

Sheikh Hasina wins a landslide victory in Bangladeshi elections, amid allegations of irregularities and forgery.

European Union election observation officials watch Bangladeshi voters prepare to cast their votes at a polling station in Dhaka.
European Union election observation officials watch Bangladeshi voters prepare to cast their votes at a polling station in Dhaka.

DHAKA, BANGLADESH // The former prime minister Sheikh Hasina's political alliance won a landslide victory in elections aimed at restoring democracy to the troubled South Asian nation, an election official said today. But even before the tally was complete, Mrs Hasina's opponents launched allegations of irregularities and forgery late last night - leading some to wonder if the election would be able to end a cycle of unrest that has made the country virtually ungovernable. The party led by the former prime minister, Khaleda Zia, said it would make a formal comment on the result later today. Election official Humayun Kabir said Mrs Hasina's alliance won a two-thirds majority in parliament after votes in most districts had been tallied.

"This has been a very free and fair election," Mr Kabir told reporters at his office in capital Dhaka. Mrs Hasina asked her supporters not to take to the streets to celebrate the victory, fearing potential clashes with rivals. She was expected to speak at a news conference this afternoon. According to the latest tallies, Mr Kabir said Mrs Hasina's alliance won 261 out of the 300 parliamentary seats. Mrs Zia's alliance won 30, while independent candidates and the smaller Liberal Democratic Party took four. Voting at some polling stations had been temporarily suspended due to allegations of irregularities, and results from some districts were not expected until late today. Security was tight and the voting yesterday was the most peaceful in decades - a stark contrast to the failed elections of 2007, which dissolved into street riots and prompted a military-backed interim government to declare emergency rule. Voter turnout was high, with about 80 per cent of the 81 million eligible voters casting ballots, according to Mr Kabir.

* AP