Bangladesh's ruling Awami League party won a parliamentary election on Sunday that was marred by violence that left at least 24 dead as well as low turnout, after a boycott by the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party.
Preliminary results showed that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Awami League party had won around 80 percent of the 300 parliamentary seats, with his allies taking those remaining.
Hasina defied pressure on Monday to open talks with the opposition after the vote, which the international community said was deeply flawed.
The election commission's top official in Dhaka said turnout in the capital was only 22.8 percent.
Hasina's refusal to heed opposition demands to step down and appoint a neutral caretaker to oversee the election led to the boycott, undermining the legitimacy of the vote. Activists have staged attacks, strikes and transportation blockades in unrest that has left hundreds dead since last year.
Turnout was down from 87 percent in the last vote, with officials saying the violence as well as the opposition boycott kept voters away.
"The immediate fallout of this dismal voter turnout will be the Hasina government coming under greater pressure to hold talks with the opposition," said Hossain Zillur Rahman, an economist and adviser to a former "caretaker" government tasked with overseeing an election.
"It is the ultimate sign of protest by Bangladeshi people and tells us that they are unhappy with the way elections have been held in this country," he said.
The impasse between the two main parties, which showed no sign of easing, undermined the poll's legitimacy and is fuelling worries of economic stagnation and further violence in the impoverished South Asian nation of 160 million.
On Sunday, police fired at protesters and opposition activists torched more than 100 polling stations.
(FRANCE 24 with AP, REUTERS)
Date created : 2014-01-06