12:00 AM, December 31, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:29 AM, December 31, 2018

National polls under int'l spotlight

International media widely covered yesterday's national election that saw deadly clashes and accusations of vote rigging.

In a news report, the Associated Press said it received more than 50 calls from people across Bangladesh, who identified themselves as opposition supporters.

They complained of intimidation and threats, and being forced to vote in front of ruling party men inside polling booths, it mentioned.

"Hasina's use of the state machinery to subjugate the opposition virtually ensures her electoral victory," Sasha Riser-Kositsky, a South Asia analyst for the New York-based Eurasia Group, told AP.

Minutes before the polls opened, a BBC correspondent saw filled ballot boxes at a polling centre in Chittagong city. The presiding officer declined to comment.

Only the ruling party's polling agents were present there and several other polling centres in the port city.

BBC's South Asia Regional Editor Anbarasan Ethirajan said if the opposition's claims of widespread vote rigging are proved, then it will likely to raise questions over the credibility of the election process and the legitimacy of the new government, according to a BBC report.

The Guardian in its report headlined “Bangladesh opposition reject 'farcical' election and demand new vote”, mentioned that dozens of candidates pulled out, claiming the ruling Awami League rigged the country's first contested election in a decade.

The Election Commission told Reuters that it was investigating allegations of vote rigging coming from across the country.

“Allegations are coming from across the country and those are under investigation,” SM Asaduzzaman, a spokesman for the EC, told the news agency.

The Economic Times of India reported that the voting in a tense election to choose a new government in Bangladesh ended amid allegations of manipulations by ruling party men.

The Times of India highlighted the introduction of EVMs in six parliamentary constituencies for the first time in a general election, a move which received mixed responses from the voters amid reports of glitches at some booths.

Leave your comments