Western powers denounce Bangladesh election violence, irregularities

Vastavam web: Western powers condemned election day violence in Bangladesh and described a range of other irregularities that marred a vote in which Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s alliance secured more than 90 percent of parliamentary seats. The strongly worded assessments of the election from the United States and European Union could hurt the image of Hasina, who has been in power since 2009 and also ruled from 1996-2001.

Police say at least 17 people were killed in election day clashes between supporters and opponents of Hasina’s Awami League. The two sides, which have competed for power often violently for decades, traded blame for the election day unrest. The capital Dhaka was quiet on Tuesday, but the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) said its workers were being attacked in several areas elsewhere in the country by Awami League activists. The League’s joint general secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif said those accusations were false and he had not heard of any such attacks.

“Violence has marred the election day, and significant obstacles to a level playing field remained in place throughout the process and have tainted the electoral campaign and the vote,” the EU said in a statement, calling for “a proper examination of allegations of irregularities”. “We are also concerned that election-day irregularities prevented some people from voting, which undermined faith in the electoral process,” it said.