Controversy Surrounds Bangladesh Election as Sheikh Hasina Secures Fourth Term

Bangladesh's PM Sheikh Hasina secures a fourth term amidst controversy and opposition boycott. The election results trigger debates over legitimacy and concerns about potential one-party rule
Sheikh Hasina
Sheikh Hasina

Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina secures her fourth consecutive term in a controversial election, facing allegations of a sham poll amid mass arrests of opposition leaders. The victory triggers concerns of de-facto one-party rule.

Election Outcome and Controversies:

Ms Hasina's Awami League and allies win 223 of 300 parliamentary seats, with the opposition boycotting the poll. Allegations of a sham election arise, leading to scrutiny of the low reported voter turnout of 40%. The opposition claims the government inflates numbers, challenging the election commission's credibility.

Human Rights Watch estimates nearly 10,000 activists were arrested, accusing the government of suppressing political opponents. The Awami League denies these claims. Critics fear the new victory could lead to one-party dominance, with doubts over the government's willingness to address the crackdown.

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Opposition Boycott and Political Landscape:

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) boycotts the election, demanding an independent caretaker government. Despite the boycott, the Awami League and allies are expected to secure additional seats. BNP's acting chairman, Tarique Rahman, denies involvement in arson attacks and vows to continue a peaceful movement.

A month  back In an interview with The Diplomat’s, the BNP’s acting Chairman Tarique Rahman explains why his party is boycotting the election. “The predetermined upcoming election,” he said, “is non-participatory not just for the political parties, but the voters as well.”

Economic Success and Challenges:

Under Hasina's leadership since 2009, Bangladesh achieves economic success, becoming one of the region's fastest-growing economies. However, economic challenges arise in 2022 amid the pandemic and global economic slowdown, impacting inflation and IMF loan conditions.

Sheikh Hasina
Sheikh Hasina

International Pressure and Relations:

International pressure mounts with Washington imposing visa restrictions on Bangladeshi officials undermining democratic processes. The UN and other organizations express concern over human rights abuses. Hasina relies on India's support to counter potential Western sanctions and safeguard the garment industry.

Uncertain Future and Succession:

As Hasina secures a historic term, questions arise about her succession and the country's political future. The election result is clear, but uncertainties persist, reflecting a complex landscape shaped by economic shifts, human rights concerns, and geopolitical dynamics.


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