Dhaka:  Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League is set to form the next government after securing over three-fourth majority in the controversial polls marred by deadly clashes, a low turnout and a boycott by opposition parties.

According the unofficial results, the Awami League candidates won in 107 seats and its ally Jatiya Party so far bagged 16 as counting for votes in 147 out of 300 constituencies in 59 districts were still underway.

Having won 127 seats uncontested, the party has now more than 230 seats in the house, which gives it a clear three- fourth majority in the 10th parliament – much like it was in the 9th parliament.

“We are compiling the results… you will get the results by later today,” an Election Commission (EC) spokesman said.

The results of eight constituencies were withheld as violence forced suspension of polling at several polling stations in those areas, he said.

The EC is also set to declare names of candidates elected unopposed in 153 constituencies in the 300-seat parliament where candidates of the AL and its allies appeared as lone candidates in the absence of rivals from Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led 18 party alliance.

At least 21 people, including opposition activists, an election official and a law enforcement agency man, were killed in violence during the “one sided” elections.

The EC is yet to calculate the average turnout, but media reports said fear of violence and absence of opposition candidates kept voters away from polling stations.

“We staged the election due to our constitutional obligation…Elections could have been much better if all had participated,” Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad said.

He, however, said fair elections were held at 97 per cent of the polling centres amid reports that the ballot boxes were stuffed by ruling party activists to hide the low turn out.

Political analysts said in legal terms the election was legitimate but the opposition boycott and low turnout cast a shadow on its credibility. They expected dialogues between the major two parties to resolve the political deadlock.

Media reports said the Awami League was likely to form the new government as early as possible.

The BNP-led opposition had demanded postponement of the polls and setting up of a non-party caretaker government, but Prime Minister Hasina rejected the demands. Political violence during strikes enforced by the opposition since November have left more than 160 people dead.

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Free Press Journal