DHAKA (Reuters) – Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina won her fourth consecutive term as her party secured an absolute majority despite a low turnout in a general election boycotted by the main opposition, the body said on Monday election of the country.
His party, the Awami League, has 165 seats out of 224 in Sunday’s elections, with the results of the remaining seats yet to be announced, according to unofficial results released by the Election Commission.
The main opposition party, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), which participated in the 2018 elections but sat out in 2014, boycotted the elections after Hasina refused their demands to resign and allow a neutral authority to direct elections.
The BNP has called a two-day nationwide strike until Sunday, asking people to avoid the elections.
Hasina accused the opposition of fomenting the anti-government protests that have rocked Dhaka since late October and killed at least 14 people.
Bangladeshis largely stayed away from Sunday’s general elections, which were marred by violence. Turnout was around 40% when polling stations closed, said chief election commissioner Kazi Habibul Awal, compared to more than 80% in the last election in 2018.
Polls were held for 299 directly elected parliamentary seats, with nearly 120 million voters choosing from nearly 2,000 candidates. Election to a seat will take place at a later date following the death of an independent candidate before voting due to natural causes.
Hasina, 76, is credited with turning around Bangladesh’s economy and key garment industry. But critics accuse him of authoritarianism, human rights violations, suppression of free speech and suppression of dissent.
The economy has also slowed sharply since the war between Russia and Ukraine pushed up prices for fuel and food imports, forcing Bangladesh to turn to the International Monetary Fund last year for a plan. rescue of $4.7 billion.
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly and Ruma Paul; editing by Michael Perry)
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