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Bangladesh’s Ruling Awami League Wins Controversial Poll

Sheikh Hasina-led Awami League Party has won the violence-plagued Bangladesh general election, shunned by international observers as flawed.

With the Opposition boycotting the vote, nobody had expected any different outcome from the election in which only 147 out of a total 300 parliamentary seats were contested.

On Sunday, the polling day, at least 18 people were killed as rioters and police clashed with each other across the country. Various polling stations were set on fire as opposition activists tried to enforce the boycott.

Hundreds of people were killed in the run-up to the ballot.

20% people have reportedly exercised their franchise, with officials saying that the fear of violence and the boycott kept people away from the polling booths.

In 2008, more than 70% people had voted in the parliamentary elections – which was seen as a marked shift towards democracy in the region.

Urging supporters to “completely boycott” what she called a “scandalous farce” of an election, the opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) leader Khalida Zia had led a nationwide 48-hour strike which began Saturday.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had rejected the opposition’s demands to step down and set up a neutral government to oversee the poll.

The BNP has demanded that results be declared null and void and has called for another 48-hour general strike to begin on Monday.

The Awami League has won 105 of the 147 contested seats while allied parties or independent candidates have won the remaining 34. The ruling party also held 127 seats that were unopposed because of the opposition boycott.

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