Bangladesh's former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called on her political rival to accept the results of Monday's parliamentary elections and concede defeat in an effort to help restore democracy.
Ms. Hasina reached out to her rival, Khaleda Zia, today, Wednesday, saying she is prepared to offer senior political posts to the opposition in exchange for their cooperation.
Ms. Hasina's Awami League and its allies won an overwhelming parliamentary majority in the country's first elections in seven years Monday. In her first news conference since the vote, Ms. Hasina pledged to work with all political parties. She said Ms. Zia should accept the election results because voting was free and fair.
But Ms. Zia has rejected the election outcome as "farcical" and not acceptable to either her Bangladesh Nationalist Party or the people. She also says she will turn over evidence to support her allegations of vote-rigging in the coming days.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.About 200-thousand local and international observers monitored Monday's polls amid tight security. Observers from the European Union today said the election set a "high democratic standard" and marks "an important step towards reestablishing democratic governance of the country." Following today's news conference, Ms. Hasina met with the outgoing head of the interim government, Fakhruddin Ahmed.