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Several killed on election day in Bangladesh

Bangladesh’s voters go to the polls after the election campaign characterised by violence and charges of serious abuse of power. Five people have so far been killed in unrest associated with the election.

The five were killed in various incidents in several places in Bangladesh on Sunday during the election of a new National Assembly.

Over 100 million voters can decide whether Sheikh Hasina will continue as Prime Minister for a decade in power.

The election is considered a referendum on what, according to critics, is Hasina’s increasingly authoritarian rule. At the same time, both the government party and the opposition have accused each other of attacks on voters and candidates.

imprisoned

Hasina’s main challenger, former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, is denied elections because she is in prison for corruption.

The two rivals have both gone in and out of Bangladeshi power corridors and prison walls for decades.

In Zia’s absence, the opposition has formed an electoral alliance led by Kamal Hossein, an 82-year-old Oxford-educated lawyer and former member of Hasina’s government party.

More than 700,000 soldiers and security crews have been deployed to keep calm during the elections in Bangladesh, but there were early reports of turmoil.

Mobile network closed

At least two people have been shot and killed by police on election day. One of them tried to steal ballot papers in Banshkhali in Chittagong night on Sunday, while another was killed when the opposition tried to storm a polling station, police said.

Three others were killed in separate clashes between the government party Awami and members of the largest opposition party, the Nationalist Party.

According to the opposition, several thousand of Prime Minister Hasina’s opponents have been arrested during the election campaign, among them six candidates for the National Assembly. On Election Day, the authorities ordered the closure of the 3G and 4G networks until midnight, allegedly to “prevent rumors” that could lead to unrest.

Corruption

Voters should vote for representatives to 299 out of 300 seats in the parliament with 1,861 candidates to choose from, both independent and party affiliates.

Prior to the election, the nationalist party leader Zia was removed as a candidate from the lists. The government stated that the reason was that Zia has two corruption judgments against him.

The last of the 300 seats will be voted on January 27 after one of the candidates in that district died of cardiac arrest.

(© NTB)

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