May 14, 2021

Bangladesh polling stations open after incidents with 2 dead

Bangladesh polling stations open after incidents with 2 dead

The polling stations opened today at 08.00 local time (02.00 GMT) in a day of general elections in Bangladesh in which some 104 million voters can participate and in which at least two people have died in clashes in the middle of a large deployment of the security forces.

Before the opening of the polls, some 40,000 located in 299 districts, a member of the governing Awami League died in a clash with supporters of the opposition Nationalist Party of Bangladesh (BNP) and the Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami, reported Efe the police chief of Patia (south), Niamat Ullah.

In the southern district of Lakshmipur, authorities found a lifeless body with bullet wounds after a clash between political activists, Chandraganj police chief Abul Kalam Azad told Efe.

"The victim had bullet wounds in his leg, although we are still not sure if he belonged to any particular political party," he said.

The polling stations will remain open until 4:00 p.m. (10:00 p.m. GMT), and after its closure, it is expected to begin the recount immediately.

Voters must choose a total of 1,861 candidates, of whom 128 are presented independently, which will determine who will rule the Asian nation for the next five years.

Since last December 24, the authorities have deployed more than 600,000 troops from the Army, the Navy and the border guard, as well as the Police, according to the Electoral Commission.

The current Prime Minister and leader of the Awami League, Sheikh Hasina, appears as the favorite to win the elections and repeat the mandate for the third consecutive time since she took office in 2009.

The other formation with the possibility of obtaining the highest number of votes is the opposition BNP, of former Bangladeshi Prime Minister Khaleda Zía, imprisoned after being sentenced to 17 years for corruption.

The BNP appears at the head of a coalition of parties and also protects the largest Islamist party, Jamaat-e-Islami, whose registration was canceled by a court.

These elections represent the return of opponents to the struggle for power in elections, after the opposition parties, including the BNP, boycotted the elections in 2014.

The BNP and the Awami League have been in power since 1991, except for a brief period of military tutelage between 2006 and 2008.


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