Election Day in Bangladesh: Sheikh Hasina seeks fourth term

Polling stations open amidst heightened tensions and a significant opposition boycott, setting the stage for a decisive election day.

Polls opened today in Bangladesh for a general election amid a boycott by the main opposition party, potentially securing a fourth consecutive term for Sheikh Hasina, the world’s longest-serving female prime minister.

With a population of 170 million, Bangladesh kicks off South Asia’s electoral cycle for the year, with approximately 120 million registered voters.

Tensions escalated before the election as polling stations were set on fire, resulting in fatalities, including two children, in a train blaze, according to Reuters.

Economic challenges persist, prompting Bangladesh to seek a nearly $5 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund in the previous year.

Having held office since 2009, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina cast her vote in Dhaka, aiming for a fifth victory for her Awami League-led alliance.

Speaking to reporters, Hasina emphasized the country’s sovereignty and population, underscoring the establishment of democratic rights and the pursuit of a better life.

She stressed the importance of maintaining democracy for the nation’s development, countering concerns from international observers about a potential drift toward a single-party system.

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party, the primary opposition, opted out of the elections after their demand for Hasina’s resignation and a neutral caretaker government overseeing the polls was dismissed.

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