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.
“Why should we take the oath when we’ve rejected this election?” Mirza Fakhrul Islam, secretary general of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), told reporters.
Islam is one of the seven opposition members who won a seat.
Hasina has denied any election impropriety, calling it a peaceful vote that saw enthusiastic participation.