June 18, 2024

Bangladesh’s Hasina celebrates ‘absolute victory’ after polls with out opposition 

DHAKA: Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday dismissed the opposition’s criticism of the nation’s basic election as “illegitimate” as she celebrated securing her fifth time period in energy. 

Hasina has presided over breakneck financial development in a rustic as soon as beset by grinding poverty, however her authorities has been accused of rampant human rights abuses and a ruthless crackdown on dissent. 

“The election was free and honest,” Hasina instructed reporters in her first feedback for the reason that vote on Sunday, the place her get together took three-quarters of seats in parliament after polls boycotted by the opposition, with the turnout a meagre 41.8 p.c. 

“If any get together doesn’t take part within the election, it doesn’t imply there is no such thing as a democracy,” she mentioned, including that “those that wish to criticize can criticize.” 

The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Occasion (BNP), which has seen its ranks diminished by mass arrests, known as a basic strike and, together with dozens of others, refused to take part. 

Senior BNP chief Moyeen Khan known as it a “faux election” and mentioned the federal government was “illegitimate,” he instructed reporters in Dhaka on Monday. 

Hasina, 76, branded the BNP “a terrorist group.” 

UN rights chief Volker Turk on Monday implored the federal government to “make sure that the human rights of all Bangladeshis are absolutely taken under consideration.” 

Bangladesh was the primary in key South Asian elections this 12 months the place embattled opposition events face a tricky battle, together with in Pakistan, the place jailed former prime minister Imran Khan has been rejected as a candidate, and in neighboring India. 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned Monday he had known as Hasina and congratulated her on her “historic” victory, praising the “profitable conduct” of the polls. 

Election Fee secretary Moniruzzaman Talukder mentioned Hasina’s get together had gained 222 seats in Sunday’s polls — revised down by a seat from an earlier declared 223 — however the assist of different lawmakers means her precise management over the 300-seat parliament is even increased, analysts mentioned. 

“It is a one-party parliament,” Ali Riaz of Illinois State College instructed AFP, including that “solely the allies of the Awami League had the chance to take part.” 

The Jatiya Occasion, which gained 11 seats, is a long-time ally of Hasina’s Awami League, as are most of the 61 impartial candidates, mentioned Mubashar Hasan, a political scientist on the College of Oslo. 

“This election has legitimized one-party rule within the nation with no credible and efficient opposition within the parliament,” Hasan instructed AFP. 

“Nearly all of the impartial candidates who gained the parliamentary seats are additionally a part of the Awami League.” 

Among the many victors was Bangladesh cricket staff captain Shakib Al Hasan, who gained a seat for the ruling get together. 

Hasina’s get together confronted nearly no efficient rivals within the seats it contested, however it prevented fielding candidates in a number of constituencies, in an obvious effort to keep away from the legislature being branded a one-party establishment. 

“It was a farce election, like an area neighborhood or a market affiliation election,” mentioned Mohammad Shahin, 42, who pulls a rickshaw. 

Opposition activists staged a protest Monday in Dhaka, carrying black gags over their mouths to sentence the election. 

BNP head Tarique Rahman, talking from Britain the place he lives in exile, known as the end result “a shame to the democratic aspirations of Bangladesh,” in a social media publish, alleging he had seen “disturbing footage and movies” backing his claims. 

Meenakshi Ganguly, from Human Rights Watch, mentioned the federal government had did not reassure opposition supporters that the polls have been honest, warning that “many worry an extra crackdown.” 

Envoys from China and Russia have been among the many first to congratulate Hasina, visiting her at house on Monday and praising her “absolute victory,” her workplace mentioned in a press release. 

Beijing’s ambassador Yao Wen praised a “long-established friendship” with Dhaka in a press release, underlining the deepening ties throughout Hasina’s 15-year-long rule. 

Politics within the nation of 170 million individuals has lengthy been dominated by the rivalry between Hasina, the daughter of the nation’s founding chief, and two-time premier Khaleda Zia, spouse of a former army ruler. 

Hasina has been the decisive victor since returning to energy in a 2009 landslide, with two subsequent polls accompanied by widespread irregularities and accusations of rigging. 

Zia, 78, was convicted of graft in 2018 and is now in ailing well being at a hospital in Dhaka. BNP head Rahman is her son.