02/20/2014, 00.00
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Bangladesh opposition wins in local elections

by Sumon Corraya
The Nationalist and Islamic fundamentalist parties take 51 upazila (sub-districts) out 97. For the opposition, the result shows that the general election in January was "a farce."

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - Opposition parties yesterday defeated the ruling Bangladesh Awami League (AL) in the first round of local elections, winning in 51 upazila (sub- districts) out 97.

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and the Jamaat-e-Islami (Islamic fundamentalist) Party led the way in 40 and 11 upazila respectively.

According to many commentators, these results votes show that last month's general elections were a farce.

For the opposition, the current government is illegitimate. All opposition parties boycotted the January poll in protest against Prime Minister and AL leader Sheikh Hasina.

The BNP and Jamaat called on Hasina to re-instate an apolitical caretaker government, whose mandate is to organise transparent elections over a period of 90 days.

In yesterday's elections, the BNP accused the AL of fraud and of preventing regular checks in some polling stations.

The Electoral Commission responded, saying that the elections were basically free and fair with a few "isolated incidents".

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