Bangladesh

Articles about voting issues in the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

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. Read More

Bangladesh: Violence rocks local elections in Bangladesh, killing 13 | The Washington Post

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. Read More

Bangladesh: Election Commission moves to change poll symbols for female candidates | bdnews24

After coming under fire in the City Corporation and municipal polls, the Election Commission is changing symbols for female candidates. It had come under strong criticism for allotting household items to women during the city polls in April and the recent polls to 234 municipalities in December last year. An EC meeting on Tuesday proposed 10 new symbols dropping previous symbols like frying pan, ornaments and vegetables. Election Commissioner Md Shahnewaz said that they are now discussing over the proposed electoral rules and code of conducts for the upcoming Union Parishad (UP) polls. It will be finalised in a few days and forwarded to the law ministry for vetting, he added. Read More

Bangladesh: Election Commission weighs no holiday on vote days | bdnews24

The Election Commission (EC) is weighing doing away with the general holiday on election days, arguing it affects voter turnout. But former chief election commissioner ATM Shamsul Huda has scoffed at the idea, dubbing it as “unrealistic”. Voting days are public holidays in Bangladesh to facilitate balloting. The country enjoys holiday during general elections, but in local polls, only areas where balloting takes place enjoy the facility. Read More

Bangladesh: Election Commission embarrassed over Electronic Voting Machines | bdnews24

Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) introduced to modernise the polling process have become a source of embarrassment for the Election Commission. The much-hyped machines have remained out of order for nearly two years after the commission stopped using them after detecting errors in three units during city polls between 2011-13. The EC negotiated with the manufacturers, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), for a way out. However, the last BUET letter raised allegations of contract violation against the commission, adding to the embarrassment. But the EC claims it has not violated the contract. Read More

Bangladesh: Australia, Canada want quick probe into poll irregularities | Financial Express

Australia and Canada called on Thursday on the Election Commission and all responsible authorities to swiftly and impartially investigate the reports of irregularities and violence, and ensure that individuals found to have broken the law are held to account, reports UNB. In a joint statement, Australian High Commissioner Greg Wilcock and Canadian High Commissioner Benoît-Pierre Laramée expressed their concern about the many reports of ‘electoral irregularities’ and ‘violence’ during the City Corporation elections in Dhaka and Chittagong on April 28. Read More

Bangladesh: Opposition members go into hiding following violent national election | Associated Press

Opposition members in Bangladesh have gone into hiding as police carry out sweeping raids after the country’s violent national election, a news report and a rights group said Thursday. The ruling party easily won Sunday’s election, which was marred by street fighting, low turnout and an opposition boycott, with at least 18 people dying in election-related violence. The vote only exacerbated tensions in this South Asian nation, which has a grim history of political unrest. Political violence has convulsed Bangladesh in recent months as opposition activists staged attacks, strikes and transportation blockades to protest Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government. Nearly 300 people have been killed in the violence since last February. After her party swept the largely uncontested elections, Hasina said Monday that her first priority was to contain the violence with an “iron hand.” Read More

Bangladesh: Another beating: Sheikh Hasina plans to hang on to office after an electoral farce | The Economist

It is becoming hard to know whether Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh’s prime minister, is a cynically good actress or cut off from political reality. Smiling before journalists in Dhaka, the capital, on January 6th, she chided opposition parties for their “mistake” in boycotting general elections the day before, then waved aside doubts over the legitimacy of her victory. Either way, her country’s democracy is in a rotten state. Of a potential electorate of 92m (out of more than 150m people), only a minority turned out. The government says just under 40% voted in contested seats; others think much less. It does not give Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League (AL), which has ruled since 2009, much of a basis for another term. Many polling stations saw almost no voters, then suspiciously large numbers of ballots cast late in the day. Of the 300 constituencies, just over half, 153, had no contest at all, since only AL candidates or allies registered. In the capital voting took place in just nine of 20 seats. Read More

Bangladesh: Governing Party Wins Vote Amid Unrest | New York Times

Bangladesh’s governing party celebrated its victory in general elections on Monday, dismissing critics who said the vote’s legitimacy was undercut by violence, low turnout and the absence of the country’s main opposition force from the ballots. The party, the Awami League, won 232 of the 300 seats in Bangladesh’s new Parliament, about half of the victors unopposed. Partial results published by Bangladesh’s Election Commission put the average turnout on Sunday at 39.8 percent, though that figure appeared to have been padded by an influx of pro-government activists who arrived at polling stations shortly before they closed. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, receiving journalists in her home on Monday, put the blame on the main opposition force, the Bangladesh National Party, which boycotted the election and carried out a campaign to discourage turnout. Some observers had hoped that the poor results would force the warring parties to negotiate a new, more inclusive round of elections. But Mrs. Hasina took a tough tone on Monday, saying she would not enter talks unless the opposition first renounced violence. Read More

Bangladesh: Elections Marred By Violence and Low Turnout | TIME

At least 18 people were killed in elections in Bangladesh on Jan. 5, in a bloody culmination to months of violent protest. With an opposition-led boycott of the vote leaving 153 out of 300 parliament seats uncontested, the foregone conclusion that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her ruling Awami League (AL) would remain in power translated into an abysmal voter turnout of some 20%, according to early reports. News of widespread violence on voting day kept many voters away. Though the streets of the capital city of Dhaka remained relatively quiet on Sunday, dozens of voting booths around the country were reportedly set on fire over the weekend. Other voters were simply disillusioned with the whole process. “It’s a very bad situation,” said Mohammed Abdul Salam, a businessman in Dhaka, who did not vote. “We have no choice.” Read More