DHAKA (Reuters) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s alliance won Bangladesh’s election with a thumping majority, the country’s Election Commission said early on Monday, giving her a third straight term following a vote that the opposition rejected as rigged.
The alliance dominated by Hasina’s Awami League, seen as close to regional power India, won 287 of the 298 seats for which results have been declared for the 300-strong parliament, the commission said.
The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), which boycotted the last poll in 2014, won just six seats.
Hasina’s win consolidated her decade-long rule over Bangladesh, where she is credited with improving the economy and promoting development but has also been accused of rampant human rights abuses, a crackdown on the media and suppressing dissent. She denies such charges.
Raising minimum wages for workers in Bangladesh’s massive garments industry, the world’s second biggest after China, could be one of her first tasks after she takes office, party leaders have said. Hasina will meet foreign journalists and poll observers at her official residence later on Monday.
Opposition leader Kamal Hossain said their alliance, the National Unity Front led by the BNP, had called on the Election Commission to order a fresh vote under a neutral administration “as soon as possible”, alleging Sunday’s poll was flawed.
At least 17 were people were killed as the vote took place, police said, after a violent campaign season during which the opposition alleged the government denied it a level playing field.
“The whole election was completely manipulated. It should be cancelled,” 82-year-old Hossain said at his residence in the capital, Dhaka, late on Sunday. Candidates reported witnessing ballot-stuffing and vote-rigging by ruling party activists, who also barred opposition polling agents from voting centres, Hossain said.
“We’ve had bad elections in the past but I must say that it is unprecedented how bad this particular election was. The minimum requirements of free and fair election are absent,” he said.
Hossain said he would meet opposition alliance members on Monday to decide their next step.
Hasina’s son, Sajeeb Wazed, called the opposition “sore losers making false allegations”.