Preliminary results from Bangladesh's crucial parliamentary election
indicate a hefty victory for the coalition headed by former Prime
Minister Sheikh Hasina, while her main rivals complain of polling
Unofficial and partial results released by the electoral commission
show Ms. Hasina's Awami League and its allies easily winning the
151-seat simple majority needed to form a government. The four-party
coalition led by the rival Bangladesh Nationalist Party lags far behind.
A BNP leader (Rizvi Ahmed) told reporters the party's
supporters were harassed at the polls, and he complained of other
irregularities. Reuters news agency said the party plans to file a
The landmark parliamentary election is aimed at restoring democracy after nearly two years of emergency rule in Bangladesh.
Voter turnout was high and voting was largely peaceful, with people waiting in long lines outside polling stations.
As she cast her ballot, Ms. Hasina said Bangladeshis should accept the
results no matter who wins. Ms. Zia said she would accept the results
of a free and fair poll, but she also said she expected to win.
Voting went on under tight security in more than 35-thousand centers
across the country. Election officials required all voters to bring a
new voter identification card to the polls to prevent fraud. There were
a few reports of scattered irregularities and scuffles between rival
party supporters, but the voting was far more peaceful than in earlier
Election officials and observers are estimating that around 70 percent
of the country's 81 million eligible voters went to the polls.
One-fourth of those eligible voters are on the rolls for the first time.
Bangladesh canceled its last scheduled election, in 2007, after it
disintegrated into violence as supporters of the two parties fought in
the streets. Bangladesh's military-backed interim government has ruled
the country since then.