Bangladesh goes to the polls amid boycott by main opposition BNP

A total of 119.6 million registered voters are eligible to vote at Sunday's polls in more than 42,000 polling stations, according to the country's Election Commission

Sheikh Hasina (photo: National Herald archives)
Sheikh Hasina (photo: National Herald archives)
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PTI

Bangladeshis on Sunday (7 January) began voting in the general elections expected to be won by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the absence of the main Opposition BNP (Bangladesh Nationalist Party), which is boycotting it.

Voting began at 8 a.m. local time and will continue till 5 p.m.

A total of 119.6 million registered voters are eligible to vote in Sunday's polls across more than 42,000 polling stations, according to the country's Election Commission.

The voting is being held in 299 out of 300 constituencies. The election to one centre will be held later as a candidate died there.

More than 1,500 candidates from 27 political parties are contesting in the election besides 436 independent candidates.

Over 100 foreign observers, including three from India, will monitor the 12th general election, which is being held under tight security.

The election commission said it expected the results to start flowing from early on 8 January.

Hasina, 76, has been in power since 2009 and her Awami League won the last election in December 2018.

The BNP boycotted the 2014 election but joined the one in 2018.

Hasina's ruling Awami League is expected to win for a straight fourth time as the main opposition, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), led by former premier Khaleda Zia, 78, who is under house arrest as a convict of graft charges, boycotted the polls.

The BNP is observing a 48-hour nationwide general strike which began at 6 a.m. on Saturday, 6 January and will end at 6 a.m. on Monday, 8 January.

The 27 political parties that are contesting the elections include the opposition Jatiya Party (JAPA). The rest are members of the ruling Awami League-led coalition, which experts dub as "satellite parties". 

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