DHAKA, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- Mired in controversy, Bangladesh's 10th parliamentary election is being held for 147 out of 300 seats in 59 out of 64 districts of the country.
A total of 153 candidates have already been elected unopposed amid boycott by ex-prime minister Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its 17 allies which demanded polls under a non-party caretaker government system canceled through the Fifteenth Amendment of the Constitution in 2011.
The following is a brief account of the general elections held in Bangladesh since its independence in 1971:
-- The first general election in independent Bangladesh was held on March 7, 1973 where a total of 1,209 candidates, including 120 independents, contested for 300 seats.
More than 19 million, or nearly 55 percent, of total registered voters exercised their franchise in the election, with the Bangladesh Awami League led by Sheikh Mujibu Rahman securing 293 seats while the remaining 7 seats were shared by smaller parties and independents.
-- The second parliamentary election was held on Feb. 28, 1979 with the participation of 2,547 candidates representing 29 parties and independents.
-- The third parliamentary election was held on May 7, 1986 where a total of 1,980 candidates representing 28 parties and independents contested for 300 seats.
The Jatiya Party, led by then military ruler Hossain Mohammad Ershad, bagged highest 153 seats while the Bangladesh Awami League won 73 seats. Nearly 66.31 percent of the 47,876,979 registered voters exercised their franchise.
-- The fourth parliamentary elections were held on March 3, 1988. The number of candidates totaled 1,192 representing eight parties and independents.
-- The fifth general elections were held on Feb. 27, 1991 with 2,787 candidates representing 75 parties and independents contested for the 300 seats.
The highest 169 seats were bagged by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), founded by former president Ziaur Rahman, which formed the government with Khaleda Zia, who joined politics after her husband Ziaur Rahman was assassinated in 1981, as prime minister. The Bangladesh Awami League secured 92 seats to emerge as the main opposition in the parliament while the Jatiya Party of HM Ershad won 35 seats.
The turnout was approximately 52 percent of the registered voters totaling 62,289,556.
-- The sixth parliamentary elections held on February 15, 1996 were later canceled as except the BNP all the major political parties, including the Awami League, boycotted the controversial election.
-- In the seventh general elections held on June 12, 1996 under a caretaker government, a total of 2,574 candidates took part. The candidates represented 81 parties and independents. The Bangladesh Awami League formed the government as it secured 146 seats while the BNP got 116.
-- The eighth general election was held on Oct. 1, 2001. A total of 1,935 candidates representing 54 parties and independents contested in the polls. The election was the second to be held under the caretaker government concept, introduced in the Constitution in 1996. The BNP won 193 seats while its key political rival the Awami League got only 62 seats. Total turnout of voters was nearly 74.9 percent.
-- The last general election was held on Dec. 29, 2008 for the ninth parliament. A total of 1,552 candidates representing 39 parties and independents contested in the polls and the Awami League won a landslide victory, bagging 230 seats out of all 300 parliament seats. The ninth parliamentary election, scheduled for Jan. 22, 2007, was canceled after the state of emergency was declared on Jan. 11, 2007 amid political turmoil.