Bangladesh polls: Bangladesh went to polls on Sunday after a weeks-long electoral campaign that saw deadly violence between ruling and opposition party supporters, amid tight security arrangements across the South Asian country. Some 60,000 security personnel have been deployed, including 45,000 at polling booths. Sheikh Hasina is looking for a fourth term as prime minister against a weakened opposition whose leader is currently in jail. Around 104 million voters will choose between an alliance-led byPrime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League and a coalition headed by Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), which boycotted the last election in 2014 claiming it wouldn’t be free and fair.
Opinion polls suggest Awami League’s victory in parliamentary polls. Hasina needs 151 seats in the first-past-the-post system to win in the 300-seat parliament. The election comes amid allegations of the crackdown on thousands of opposition activists and growing authoritarianism, including the violent repression of student protestors and the attack on civil-society activists. More than 15,000 opposition activists have been arrested since the announcement of elections on November 8, crippling its ability to mobilise its grassroots support. BNP claims 8 of its activists have died.
Hasina was a gifted victory in 2014 polls when his party Awami League won most of the parliamentary seats uncontested. The Awami League currently hold a majority in Parliament, with an overwhelming 275 seats.