Opposition alliance leads local elections in Bangladesh

By Ferdous Ahmad Bhuiyan

DHAKA, Bangladesh – Candidates backed by Bangladesh`s two main opposition parties won control of 60 sub-districts, while the ruling Awami League party won 40, in the second phase of local elections Thursday.

The Bangladesh National Party (BNP) and Jamaat-e-Islami candidates, who are allies in opposition, took part in the voting for the Upazila sub-district councils after boycotting January`s parliamentary election.

There were accusations that polling centers were occupied and of vote rigging by ruling party supporters as well as boycotts by opposition candidates and sporadic violence in 114 Upazilas.

BNP backed candidates won 52 Upazilas, Jamaat-e-Islami won eight and and the ruling Awami League party won 40, with eight Upazilas going to candidates backed by other parties.

The election commission halted voting in one area and postponed it at 34 polling centers across the country due to alleged violence and vote manipulations.

Thirteen BNP-backed candidates boycotted polls in different upazilas on Thursday on various allegations and calls also general strike in respective areas protesting vote rigging.

Earlier voting ended with sporadic incidents of violence including the death of a member of Jamaat-e-Islami`s student wing, Islami Chatra Shabir, as police opened fire on two clashing group at polling centers in eastern district Noakhali.

While acknowledging the episodes of violence, Bangladesh`s chief election commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmed claimed the second phase of the Upazila elections were held peacefully.

Both BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami leaders accused the commission of not doing enough to stop vote rigging.

"Ruling party activists and the government are trying to turn the result of the local body elections in their favor by occupying vote centers, vote rigging and violence throughout the country," Dr. Shafiqur Rahman, Jamaat-e-Islami`s acting secretary general, said in a written statement.

Copyright © 2014 Anadolu Agency