Elections were held properly: Bangladesh’s ruling party

Dhaka, Jan 5 (IANS) Bangladesh’s ruling Awami League party Sunday said the country’s 10th parliamentary elections were held properly, despite the opposition’s boycott.

“The holding of the election has ended all speculation and foiled all conspiracies to thwart it,” bdnews24.com quoted Awami League leader Tofail Ahmed as saying at a press conference after polling closed at 4 p.m. Sunday.
“The elections were held properly. The spirit of Bangalee’s (people’s) liberation war has won through this election,” Ahmed said.
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)-led 18-party opposition alliance had urged the people to boycott the polls. It also threatened to prevent the polls by calling a 48-hour nationwide shutdown from Saturday.
The BNP is led by former Bangladesh prime minister Khaleda Zia.
The Awami League leader claimed the voter turnout was satisfactory despite the violence.
“The people have rejected her (Khaleda Zia) call and went to the polling centres to cast their votes,” he said.
“A vacuum would have been created if the polls had not been held.”
“Khaleda Zia chose the path of violence. She wanted a mass-revolution. But it had no links with the people. That’s not the way for a revolution,” he added.
Polling ended in 147 constituencies in 59 districts of Bangladesh amid an opposition-led string of violent incidents.
The violence led the Election Commission to postpone voting in 160 polling centres.
Mired in controversy, the elections were held in just 147 out of 300 seats in 59 out of 64 districts of the country. As many as 153 candidates have already been elected unopposed amid a boycott by the main opposition party and its allies.
Some 21 parties, including the BNP, boycotted the polls over Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s refusal to introduce a non-party interim government to oversee the elections.