12/30/2008, 00.00
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Hasina and Awami League in landslide win in Bangladesh

With the total count almost in, the Awami League has already two thirds of parliament. A personal victory for the ex prime minister, imprisoned last year on corruption charges. Her electoral campaign targeted the young.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) – Former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League has won the first election in 7 years in the country, after two terms of a military backed interim government.

A representative from the Electoral Commission declared that the Awami League could even govern without recourse to the aid of coalition partners having gained two thirds of the parliament.

According to unofficial results, the opposing party, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (Bnp) only won 25 seats.  Its ally, Jamaat-e-Islami, lost almost all of its seats.

Election officials say more than 70% of Bangladesh's 80 million voters cast their ballots in the poll.

Security was tight throughout polling day, with national and international observers deployed to guard against election fraud and violence. Apart from minor incidents, the elections ran smoothly.

Yesterday’s vote overturns the results from 7 years ago when the BNP won with a huge majority. But according to many observers it gave birth to “one of the most corrupt governments in the history of the country”, led by Khaleda Zia.

Other analysts claim the AL victory was foreseeable. The state of emergency launched January 11th 2007 and the ensuing provisional government were created with the aim of preventing an AL win in the elections set for January 22nd 2007.

The results of these elections are also a personal victory for the leader, Sheikh Hasina, whose political career appeared over last year when she was imprisoned on corruption charges.  Khaleda Zia was also jailed for corruption.  Both however have re-emerged onto Bangladesh’s political scene, as if it cannot do without them.

Media attribute Hasina’s victory to her modern electoral message aimed at the young, with the promise of development, eliminating terrorism, reducing the cost of food and inviting foreign investment into Bangladesh.  Khaleda Zia instead had based her campaign on more traditional themes, with religious and fundamentalist undertones.

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See also
State of emergency lifted to pave the way for elections in Bangladesh
Still disagreement over electoral reform in Bangladesh
Elections begin in Bangladesh amid tight security
Leader of largest Islamic party arrested on corruption charges
National state of emergency is imposed, elections postponed, but it all seems a contrived manoeuvre


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