by Naim-Ul-Karim, Liu Chuntao
DHAKA, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) -- Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has asked law enforcement agencies, army and administration to take stern action against trouble makers to maintain order after Sunday's parliament elections, marred by opposition boycott and widespread violence.
"My government's foremost duty is now to safeguard people's lives and properties at any cost," Hasina told a press conference, packed with hundreds of local and foreign journalists in the open field of Ganabhaban, the official residence of Bangladesh premier, on Monday evening.
"I've directed the law enforcement agencies, army and administration to take stern action against trouble makers to main order after the elections." Addressing the briefing as the chief of her ruling Bangladesh Awami League (AL) party, which won more than three-fourths of 300 seats in the Sunday's 10th parliamentary polls.
She also called upon the international community to extend support to her government's efforts to continue democratic process in the country.
About a possible international sanction for staging the "one- sided" parliament election, Hasina said, "Those who want to impose a sanction on Bangladesh do not believe in our independence as well as democracy." She said many countries across the world held elections in the worst manner than that in Bangladesh and have got the legitimacy.
"What offenses Bangladesh has committed for that it has to face a sanction?"
Replying to a question by Xinhua on her government's foreign policy, Hasina said, "We want frankly relation with all."
"Our government believes in friendship to all, malice to none. "
Hasina said people turned up to polling centers defying all hurdles set up by opposition to cast their votes in favor of the AL for lasting peace and progress.
Out of 300 seats, Hasina's AL has so far won 232 seats, which are more than enough to form a government, and was leading in most of the remaining constituencies.
Mired in controversy, Bangladesh's 10th parliamentary election was held in just 147 out of 300 seats in 59 out of 64 districts of the country on Sunday, as 153 candidates have been elected unopposed amid boycott by ex-Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and 17 its allies.
A total of 127 winners without a contest belong to Hasina's AL party and it needed merely 24 seats to win a majority from the remaining 147 seats where polling started Sunday morning.
The final results of 139 seats out of the 147 in the 10th general elections have been announced, while results of the rest eight seats have not been announced as elections were suspended due to violence in a number of centers. According to results from the Election Commission, AL leads in Sunday's parliamentary election winning 105 seats of 147 seats. Jatiya Party of former military strongman HM Ershad, who ruled Bangladesh for nearly nine years from 1982 to 1990, won 31 seats, including 13 on Sunday, and others took 27 seats. Hasina said voters showed up at the centers despite opposition's resistance by enforcing blockades and strikes. She, however, invited BNP to peaceful dialogue after leaving the relationship with Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party, key ally of Khaleda's 18-party alliance, many leaders of which face war crimes trials. Some 21 parties including BNP boycotted Sunday's election and tried to prevent it by resorting to intense violence in which at least 23 people were reportedly killed.
Hasina Monday said that a new election might be arranged if the AL and the BNP reached an agreement. BNP demanded polls under a non-party caretaker government.
BNP's deputy chief Tarique Rahman has dismissed the possibility of his party's holding further dialogue with AL, terming it an " illegal government" that has now come to power through a "farcical election." "A government that comes to the power through a farcical election is definitely not a legal government. I see no reason to have further discussions with a government that is not legal," Rahman, elder son of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia, who is now in London said during a press briefing there.
The video of the briefing was posted on YouTube. Less than an hour after the parliament elections concluded amid widespread violence, Bangladesh's main opposition has called a nationwide 48-hour strike form Monday morning demanding cancellation of Sunday's general polls. To ensure a fair election, more than 400,000 law enforcement personnel and over 50,000 soldiers were deployed across the country. Despite beefed-up security measures, Bangladesh Election Commission has been forced to postpone vote in scores of polling centers due to incidents of snatching and torching of ballot papers and boxes the ballots.