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Bangladesh vote begins despite opposition boycott

English.news.cn   2014-01-05 10:22:35            
 • Polling stations in Bangladesh opened Sunday morning for controversial parliament elections.
 • Some 21 parties including ex-PM Khaleda Zia's BNP are boycotting the elections.
 • The violence that has continued unabated in recent months intensified on the eve of the polling day.

 

DHAKA,Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- Polling stations in Bangladesh opened Sunday morning for controversial parliament elections boycotted by the main opposition party which enforced non-stop countrywide strike and blockade.

About 18,000 polling stations set in schools and other public buildings opened at 8:00 a.m. local time and would last till 4 p.m. .

The election has already seen 153 candidates elected unopposed, meaning more than half of the country's 100 million voters are not getting an opportunity to exercise their voting rights in the elections that have already sealed a victory for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Hasina's AL and 11 small parties have participated in the elections in which only 543 candidates are contesting for 300 parliament seats. Mired in controversy, Bangladesh's 10th parliamentary election is being held in just 147 out of 300 seats in 59 out of 64 districts of the country. 153 candidates have already been elected unopposed amid boycott by the main opposition and its allies.

Some 21 parties including ex-Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) are boycotting the elections over Hasina's refusal to introduce a non-party interim government to oversee the parliament polls that will end in certain victory for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina after the opposition boycotted the "farcical" contest.

BNP's deputy chief Tarique Rahman through a video statement from London Saturday urged people to resist the elections at any cost.

He made the plea just a day after his mother Khaleda Zia, chairperson of BNP, made similar call for boycotting the polls.

Urging people not to cast their ballots, Khaleda's 18-party alliance began a two-day strike in protest at what it called a " scandalous farce" elections.

Osman Faruq, a spokesperson for Bangladesh Nationalist Party ( BNP), Friday announced the strike at a press briefing, saying the strike is also aimed at protesting confinement of the party chief Khaleda Zia.

Faruq dismissed the elections as a "scandalous farce" to ensure the continuation of Hasina's government and urged people to refrain from casting ballots.

The ongoing nationwide blockade of rail, roads and waterways is continuing alongside the shutdown which triggered wide spread violence across the country,.

The violence that has continued unabated in recent months intensified on the eve of the polling day. Scores of polling centers in Bangladesh capital Dhaka and elsewhere in the country have been torched despite beefed security measures with deployment of around 400,000 police and paramilitary Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) personnel and tens of thousands of Army troops.

Related:

Violence leaves 5 including polling official dead, dozens injured

DHAKA, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- A polling official and four opposition supporters were killed in poll violence in a number of Bangladesh districts on Sunday morning, sources said.

They said Jobaidur Rahman, 45, assistant presiding officer of a polling center in northwestern Thakurgaon district, was killed by unidentified miscreants hours before the start of the elections boycotted by Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its 17 allies. Full story

Bangladesh opposition calls 48-hour strike urging people to refrain from casting ballots

DHAKA, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- Bangladesh's main opposition on Friday called a nationwide 48-hour strike form Saturday morning demanding cancellation of Jan. 5 general elections.

Osman Faruq, a spokesperson for Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), announced the strike at a press briefing, saying the strike is also aimed at protesting confinement of the party chief Khaleda Zia.  Full story

Editor: Yang Lina
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