The dust was about to settle with the election fever dissipating in Bangladesh. The political scene was slowly returning to an atmosphere of relative calm. Then came a damning report from the Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) that uncovered “serious wrongdoings” during the December 30 election. The list of irregularities in 47 out of 50 constituencies surveyed by the TIB includes ballot stuffing in the hours to the election day, fake votes and obstruction of voters. The TIB also said security forces on the scene silently stood by when these irregularities took place. “Law-enforcement agencies, a section of administrative officials and election authorities were seen playing biased roles in the election,” Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of TIB, who uses one name, said in a statement on January 15.Full Article: Bangladesh election under new scrutiny - The Hindu.
Articles about voting issues in the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
A top official at an observer group that monitored Bangladesh’s election, as well as one of its foreign volunteers, have said they regret participating in the process, casting doubt on the credibility of a vote won overwhelmingly by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s ruling alliance. The president of the SAARC Human Rights Foundation told Reuters he now believed there should be a fresh vote after hearing accounts from voters and officials presiding over polling booths that activists from Hasina’s Awami League stuffed ballot boxes the night before the poll and intimidated voters. “Now I have come to know everything, and can say that the election was not free and fair,” said Mohammad Abdus Salam, a 75-year-old former high court division justice.Full Article: Exclusive: Some in Bangladesh election observer group say they now regret involvement | Reuters.
Anti-corruption group Transparency International said on Tuesday it found “irregularities” in 47 of 50 constituencies it surveyed during last month’s general election in Bangladesh, which was marred by allegations of vote rigging. The poll that gave Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina a third straight term was undermined by ballot stuffing, voter intimidation and the occupation of polling booths among other malpractices, the group’s Bangladesh chapter said. The government rejected the report, saying the group had “lost its neutrality” and should be investigated for any “secret link” to the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). In its report, Transparency International said the BNP-led opposition could not effectively campaign for votes, opposition workers were threatened by government agencies, and the Election Commission could not ensure a level-playing field for all parties.Full Article: Bangladesh Government Rejects Report Claiming "Irregularities" In Polls.
In the wake of Bangladesh’s recent general election, opposition coalition and pro-democracy activists expressed disappointment with alleged episodes of vote manipulation going largely unreported in the local media. But several journalists argue that fear of government reprisals led many media outlets to avoid publishing stories about the alleged wrongdoing. “The level of vote robbery in the December 30 general election was unprecedented in world history. Ahead of conducting the massively rigged election, the government introduced some black laws, like the Digital Security Act, to shackle the media,” BNP senior joint secretary Ruhul Kabir Rizvi Ahmed told VOA.Full Article: Opposition and Democracy Activists Criticize Election Coverage in Bangladesh.
On Dec. 30, 2018, Bangladesh held its 11th national election since becoming independent in 1971. The questionable results ended in a sweeping victory for the ruling Awami League party of Sheikh Hasina. The party’s coalition secured 288 out of a possible 300 seats in Parliament, ostensibly winning more than 90 percent of the popular vote. The coalition of the principal opposition party, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, won a mere seven seats. The results ensured a third term in office for the Awami League. However, almost immediately after the results were announced, a host of foreign and domestic analysts pointed out that the election was far from free or fair. Their misgivings were warranted. At least 17 people were killed in election-related violence, many others were injured, and there were widespread allegations of voter intimidation.Full Article: The World Should Be Watching Bangladesh’s Election Debacle – Foreign Policy.
Opposition members of Bangladesh’s parliament boycotted a swearing-in ceremony on Thursday, after rejecting results of a general election that they said was rigged to give Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina her third straight term. Hasina’s ruling alliance won more than 90 percent of the seats contested in Sunday’s election, which was marred by accusations of ballot stuffing, voter intimidation and violence that killed at least 17 people. Hasina and her ruling Awami League party have dismissed the accusations. While newly elected members of parliament from the ruling bloc, including Hasina, were sworn in, the seven opposition members stayed away.Full Article: Bangladesh opposition boycotts oath, calls for new election | Reuters.
Bangladesh: Western powers call for probe into Bangladesh election irregularities, violence | Reuters
Western powers on Tuesday condemned election day violence in Bangladesh and described a range of other irregularities that marred a vote in which Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s alliance secured more than 90 percent of parliamentary seats. The strongly-worded assessments from the UK, European Union, and United States could hit the image of Hasina, who won a third straight term to power following Sunday’s election. Hasina’s opponents have rejected the election result, citing what they describe as widespread rigging and voter intimidation. She has denied impropriety, calling it a peaceful vote that saw enthusiastic participation from her supporters. The capital Dhaka was quiet on Tuesday, but the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) said its workers were being attacked in several areas elsewhere in the country by activists of the Awami League – charges the party denied.Full Article: Western powers call for probe into Bangladesh election irregularities, violence | Reuters.
When Selina Akther went to vote in Dhaka in Bangladesh’s general election, she was surprised when the polling agent entered the booth with her. Her surprise turned to outrage, she said, when he then cast her vote. He selected the “spade” button on the screen of one of the electronic voting machines — the symbol of one of the small parties that is part of an alliance with Bangladesh’s ruling Awami League — Ms Akther told the Financial Times. It was not the party she had wanted to support in Sunday’s polls, but despite her protests to the centre’s electoral official, she said, it was too late — her vote was cast.Full Article: Sheikh Hasina denies Bangladesh poll fraud as opposition cries foul | Financial Times.
Bangladesh made use of electronic voting machines for the first time in a general election, though only on a limited scale, a move which received mixed responses from the voters amid reports of glitches in some booths.
Out of the 299 parliamentary constituencies that went to polls, six saw the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs), a regular feature in India since decades. Voting for the 11th national election began with the machines being used in the six seats selected through lottery. These are: Dhaka-6, Dhaka-13, Chattogram-9, Rangpur-3, Khulna-2 and Satkhira-2. The six seats comprises over 2.1 million voters. The results from these six seats could be announced within hours after the voting ends, Bangladeshi media reported.
Facebook is shutting down a series of fake news sites spreading false information about the Bangladesh opposition days before national elections, an official from the social media platform told The Associated Press. The sites — nine Facebook pages designed to mimic legitimate news outlets, as well as six fake personal accounts spreading anti-opposition propaganda — were created by Bangladeshis with government ties, Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, said in an exclusive interview. The sites would be shut down “for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior” by Thursday evening at the latest, he said by telephone from California. A threat intelligence company that Facebook worked with determined that the people who created and managed the sites are “associated with the government,” he said, declining to provide further details.Full Article: AP Exclusive: Facebook removes fake Bangladesh news sites.
More than 20,000 Bangladesh paramilitary guards were deployed across the country Tuesday amid mounting deadly violence ahead of a December 30 general election. At least six people have been killed in clashes over the past week during the bitter campaigning between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s ruling Awami League and the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) spokesman Mohsin Reza said 1,016 platoons had been deployed in a bid to reinforce campaign security. Officials said there were about 20 guards in each platoon. Election Commission secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed said thousands more troops would be deployed from Saturday.Full Article: Bangladesh Deploys Paramilitary Amid Deadly Election Campaign.
Two people have been killed in pre-election violence in Bangladesh, according to police, as clashes between armed rivals left dozens injured. More than 100 people have been hurt in violence on the campaign trail since Monday, when candidates from the two major parties began campaigning ahead of the December 30 poll. Police on Wednesday said two supporters from the Awami League, the ruling party headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, died from injuries sustained in brawls with opposition rivals late on Tuesday. Mobs armed with knives and batons faced off at a rally in Noakhali, a southern district, where a pro-government demonstrator was seriously injured.Full Article: Bangladesh: Two killed in pre-election clashes | News | Al Jazeera.
A senior official at the US embassy in Dhaka said on Saturday that Washington was planning to send 12 observer teams to monitor the December 30 parliamentary elections in Bangladesh. Each team will comprise two observers and will monitor polls in various constituencies across the South Asian country, William Moeller, a political officer at the US embassy in Dhaka, told the Reuters news agency. “The Bangladesh government has emphasized that it plans to hold a free and fair election,” Moeller said.Full Article: Bangladesh: US to send election observers amid opposition concerns | News | DW | 01.12.2018.
Bangladesh authorities on Monday (Nov 12) announced they were delaying next month’s general election by a week following an appeal from the country’s opposition alliance, an official said. “The vote will now be held on Dec 30,” Election Commission spokesman S.M Asaduzzaman told AFP. The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) had protested the Dec 23 election date announced last week, saying more time was needed to prepare for the poll. The BNP – whose leader Khaleda Zia is behind bars – had asked for an extra month to campaign against Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.Full Article: Bangladesh election pushed back by 1 week after opposition plea, South Asia News & Top Stories - The Straits Times.
Authorities in Bangladesh have said they will hold a “free and fair” national election on December 23 despite bitter wrangling between the government and the opposition. Bangladesh’s Election Commission announced on Thursday that the election will take place despite the imprisonment of the leader of the main opposition party and the banning of its chief partner, Jamaat-e-Islami. “A favourable situation prevails in the country to hold a free and fair election,” Chief Election Commissioner Nurul Huda said in an address aired by state-run television and radio stations. Huda said he hoped all parties will participate in the election, in which Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is seeking re-election.Full Article: Bangladesh general election on December 23 despite Zia's arrest | Bangladesh News | Al Jazeera.
Citing cybercrimes as a threat in the upcoming national polls, the ruling party apprehends that there may be violent consequences due to use of information technology in the country. Criminals may use social media to demoralize country’s democratic atmosphere. Cyberwar can be a crucial issue during the poll time period, as anti-democratic forces, militant groups and religious fundamentalists may misuse the social media to operate cyber war, warned law enforcement agencies. Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) high officials also said militant groups may use social media and online platforms to obstruct the 11th parliamentary election, scheduled at the end of 2018.Full Article: Cybercrimes through social media to influence upcoming polls | Dhaka Tribune.
Bangladesh: National Economic Council approves USD 456 million project to procure electronic voting machines | Business Standard News
Bangladesh plans to buy 1.5 lakh electronic voting machines at a cost of nearly USD 456 million, the country’s top economic policy-making body announced Tuesday. The project was approved at the weekly Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) meeting here headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister A H M Mustafa Kamal said the Prime Minister had directed that the voting machines should initially be used in urban areas as the number of educated people in cities and towns is higher. “The EVMs will be used mainly in urban areas at first and will gradually be introduced in other areas,” he was quoted as saying by the ‘Dhaka Tribune’.Full Article: Bangladesh approves USD 456 million project to procure EVMs | Business Standard News.
Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said on Monday that her government will hold a general election by the end of this year, as scheduled. “The election will take place on time and the people will exercise their voting rights,” Hasina said.
The prime minister was speaking at a press conference on her return home from an official visit to Italy and the Vatican. Hasina addressed threats from the Bangladesh National Party (BNP) that it will boycott the election unless its chairperson, Begum Khaleda Zia, is released from prison. Zia — who was herself prime minister of Bangladesh from 1991 to 1996 and from 2001 to 2006 — was sentenced to five years in jail for embezzlement on Feb. 8.
Bangladesh: Prime Minister says government considering using electronic voting machines in general elections | bdnews24
The government is considering introducing electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the parliamentary elections due by early 2019, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has told Parliament. In response to an MP’s question on Wednesday, she said, “The plan to introduce E-voting in the next parliamentary election can be taken into consideration in order to further ensure the people’s voting right in accordance with all existing laws for free, fair and impartial elections.” The ruling Awami League proposed the introduction of E-voting during talks on forming the new Election Commission with President Md Abdul Hamid on Jan 11. The Awami League leaders later said they meant use of EVMs by E-voting.Full Article: PM says govt considering using EVM in general elections - bdnews24.com.
Deadly violence has erupted during local elections in Bangladesh, leaving at least 13 people dead this week. Analysts said the mayhem shows the country’s democracy is struggling in the face of Islamist extremism and a divisive debate over how to deal with the legacy of its 1971 civil war. The election violence Tuesday night — including vicious political clashes between rival parties as well as security forces opening fire on rioters — was considered unusual for the impoverished South Asian nation. While attacks have accompanied national elections in the past, village-level polls have usually been peaceful. But with the two main political parties disagreeing over whether, and how, to punish war crimes committed during the country’s war of independence from Pakistan, public discourse has become more extreme, analysts said. Attacks carried out by Islamist extremists have led the secular government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to crack down with an increasingly heavy hand as it aims to reassure the international community about Bangladeshi security.Full Article: Violence rocks local elections in Bangladesh, killing 13 - The Washington Post.