Awami League wins landslide victory in Bangladesh’s Parliamentary elections

Bangladesh Awami League President and former prime minister Sheikh Hasina is poised to become prime minister for the second term after her party’s landslide victory in the 9th parliament elections on Monday.

Hasina’s party won two-third majority in 300-member Parliament crashing her rival Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chairperson and immediate past prime minister Khaleda Zia.

According to the latest Election Commission’s counts of 295 seats, Awami League won 229 seats, BNP won 27 seats, former president Muhammad Ershad’s Jatiya Party won 27 seats, JSD got three seats, Workers Party of Bangladesh and Bangladesh Jamaate Islami each won two seats, while Bangladesh Jatiya Party and LDP each got one seat and independents won three seats.

Election Commission Secretary Humayun Kabir said at a press conference Tuesday the elections for 299 seats were held on Monday, the election for the other one seat was postponed to be held on Jan. 12 next year due to the death of a candidate.

“The results for two seats will come out later Tuesday and the announcement of results for another two seats was postponed due tosome irregularities,” he said.

Election Commissioner Sohul Hossain said voters turnout is about 80 percent, the highest in history.

Hasina is expected to form her cabinet within 3-4 days. The new Parliament will sit sometime next month.

Analysts say massive corruption and terrorist acts during Khaleda Zia’s government brought the disaster for her party. BNP also came to power in 2001 with two-third majority.

Former president of Bangladesh Supreme Court Bar Association Rafiqul Huq told Xinhua, “If Hasina becomes next prime minister, she is going to form the government at very critical time when the global economy is facing recession. She must handle the situation strictly.”

Huq feels that more than 25 million young people who were registered as voters for the first time perhaps gave mandate to Sheikh Hasina as they were fed up with corruption during BNP-led 4-party coalition government.

Hasina who ruled the country from 1996 to 2001 was arrested in July 2007 by the current caretaker government on corruption charges. She was released on a executive order to go abroad for treatment on June this year.

Hasina got bail in all the cases in November this year paying the way for her to come back to participate the elections.

The 9th Parliamentary elections were scheduled to be held on Jan. 22, 2007. Due to the differences between BNP and Awami Leagueover election issues, the political situation deteriorated. President Iajuddin Ahmed on Jan. 11, 2007 had to declare a state of emergency and postponed the elections.

The new caretaker government headed by former central bank governor Fakhruddin Ahmed took office on Jan. 12, 2007 and has promised to hold a free and fair elections