Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has secured a fourth term with a landslide victory in polls the opposition rejected as rigged, amid clashes between rival supporters that killed at least 17 people.
Ms Hasina’s ruling Awami League party and its allies won 288 seats in the 300-seat parliament on Sunday, with the main opposition securing only six seats, Election Commission secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed said.
The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), which boycotted the last poll in 2014, won just six seats.
Ms Hasina’s win consolidated her decade-long rule over Bangladesh, where she is credited with improving the economy and promoting development but has also been accused of rampant human rights abuses, a crackdown on the media and suppressing dissent. She denies such charges.
Raising minimum wages for workers in Bangladesh’s massive garments industry, the world’s second biggest after China, could be one of her first tasks after she takes office, party leaders have said. Ms Hasina will meet foreign journalists and poll observers at her official residence later on Monday.
Opposition leader Kamal Hossain said their alliance, the National Unity Front led by the BNP, had called on the Election Commission to order a fresh vote under a neutral administration “as soon as possible”, alleging Sunday’s poll was flawed.
At least 17 were people were killed as the vote took place, police said, after a violent campaign season during which the opposition alleged the government denied it a level playing field.
“The whole election was completely manipulated. It should be cancelled,” 82-year-old Hossain said at his residence in the capital Dhaka, late on Sunday. Candidates reported witnessing ballot-stuffing and vote-rigging by ruling party activists, who also barred opposition polling agents from voting centres, Mr Hossain said.
“We’ve had bad elections in the past but I must say that it is unprecedented how bad this particular election was. The minimum requirements of free and fair election are absent,” he said.
Mr Hossain said he would meet opposition alliance members on Monday to decide their next step.
Ms Hasina’s son, Mr Sajeeb Wazed, called the opposition “sore losers making false allegations”.
The Election Commission said it was investigating allegations of vote rigging from across the Muslim-majority country of 165 million people. A spokesman declined to say if those probes would affect the election result.