Bangladesh election makes mockery of democracy: BNP’s Alamgir


BNP leader Alamgir said the rigging was facilitated by government agencies PHOTO/Mahmud Hossain Opu/Al Jazeera

The leader of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has said that Sunday’s general election was a “fraud” and marred by widespread irregularities.

“Yesterday’s election was totally fraud,” Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, the general secretary of BNP, told Al Jazeera after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina registered an unprecedented victory.

The ruling Awami League (AL) captured 288 out of 298 seats for which elections were held, winning a whopping 96 percent of the seats, drawing criticism from the opposition.

“Ballot papers were stuffed on the night before the election. Except for few, irregularities were found in almost all the constituencies. It was preplanned, and the result was decided much earlier,” Alamgir alleged.

The BNP leader said that the vote rigging was facilitated by “the government agencies, the police and other law enforcement agencies in collaboration with the election commission officials”.

“This is a mockery of democracy. Bangladesh has lost an opportunity to come back to democracy,” said Alamgir, who is among the seven BNP candidates to win their seats.

The opposition party had boycotted the last election held in 2014.

The massive win reminded of the controversial February 1996 parliamentary elections in which the BNP won 278 seats amid boycotts. It had triggered countrywide protests forcing the BNP out.

Call for fresh election

Later on Monday, the opposition alliance Jatiya Oikya Front (National Unity Front) reiterated their demands for fresh election under a “nonpartisan government”.

“A drama in the name of a national election was staged yesterday and the countrymen perceived from their hearts that how the election process of a sovereign country was destroyed,” Kamal Hossain, convener of the Jatiya Oikya Front, said at a press conference on Monday.

Hossain, a former ally of Hasina and a well-respected jurist, became the face of the opposition alliance as the BNP leader and former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia was barred from polls because of a corruption conviction. 

The front said it will submit a memorandum to the election commission on Thursday.

But at a press conference held at the election commission office in Dhaka, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda put to rest the opposition demand for re-election.

“There is no scope to hold the national election again,” Huda said a day after the 11th general election.

The CEC on Monday put its stamp on the unofficial results, and added that the voter turnout in the violence-marred polls was 80 percent.

The fatigue of the month-long election process was visible on Dhaka’s roads on Monday where traffic was thin with paramilitary vehicles still making rounds of the streets.

‘Kicked out of the polling booth’

Meanwhile, many Bangladeshi voters shared their stories on social media, some of them complaining of irregularities on the election day.

Al Jazeera for more

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