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Hasina Wins Landslide in Bangladesh, Zia Rejects Results


Bangladesh's former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her allies won an overwhelming parliamentary majority in the country's first elections in seven years, but her long-time rival rejected the outcome of Monday's polls.

Khaleda Zia, another former prime minister who allied with several other parties including an Islamic fundamentalist group, called the poll "stage-managed."

She said the results are "not acceptable" to either her Bangladesh Nationalist Party or the people, and that she will turn over evidence to support her allegations of vote-rigging in the coming days.

However, election commission officials said Ms. Hasina's Awami League and its allies won about two-thirds of the seats, and international monitors deemed the election "credible." Observers also welcomed the high voter turnout, with about 85 percent of the 81 million eligible voters casting ballots.

Meanwhile, local news media reported post-election violence between political activist, raising fears of a return to the political unrest that led to the cancelation of the country's last planned election.

Observers also welcomed the high voter turnout, with about 85 percent of the 81-million eligible voters casting ballots.

About 200-thousand local and international observers monitored Monday's polls, which the European Union team deemed "credible."

Observers from the International Republican Institute also praised the election as a major step forward in demonstrating the country's commitment to democracy.

In Washington, the U.S. State Department congratulated the Bangladesh Election Commission and government officials Monday on the successful election.

Monday's vote was aimed at restoring democracy in Bangladesh following nearly two years of military-backed emergency rule.

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