1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Violent Bangladesh elections

January 5, 2014

At least 18 people have been killed and many more injured during a national election in Bangladesh that was boycotted by the opposition. Scores more died in the run-up to the polls.

Fire in front of polling station in Bangladesh.
Image: STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images

Bangladesh ballot

Bangladesh's national elections were plagued by violence on Sunday, with at least 18 people killed and more than 100 polling stations torched by the time voting ended.

Among those who died was a polling official, who was stabbed to death by suspected opposition activists before voting began, police said.

Others died in clashes between supporters of the government and of the opposition, or were killed by police when they opened fire to stop polling stations from being seized.

Voting was suspended in at least 183 out of more than 18,000 stations after they were allegedly attacked by activists who took their ballot boxes, an official said.

Many voters were reportedly too intimidated to go out and cast their ballots.

Election boycott

Opposition parties boycotted the poll after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina refused to accede to their demand to step down and appoint a neutral caretaker to oversee the election. The leader of the opposition Bangladesh National Party, Khaleda Zia, also urged supporters to stay away from election, which she termed a "scandalous farce."

Zia also accused the government of putting her under house arrest, which the administration denied.

Opposition activists have staged attacks, strikes and blockaded transport routes in pre-election unrest that has left scores of people dead since last year.

Bangladesh's political landscape has been dominated for most of the past two decades by the rivalry between Hasina and Zia, who have taken turns at government and opposition during that time.

The European Union, the United States, and the British Commonwealth all refused to send observers to an election they perceived as fundamentally flawed.

Hasina's ruling Awami League is certain to win the election, with many seats going to government candidates by default.

Results are expected by the early hours of Monday morning.

tj/bk (dpa, AP)