Confident about election victory: Sheikh Hasina

UN calls for ‘credible’ election in Bangladesh

Thirteen people have been killed and thousands injured in clashes between supporters of Hasina's ruling Awami League and activists of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).

The 47-year-old, who entered politics reluctantly and has declined to take a senior position in the ruling Awami League, said he was not keen on becoming prime minister.

But Bangladesh Opposition Alliance leader Kamal Hossain called the country's general election "farcical", and said any outcome would be rejected.

In Zia's absence, opposition parties formed a coalition led by Hossain, an 82-year-old Oxford-educated lawyer and former member of Hasina's Awami League party.

Hossain said a few hours after voting ended Sunday that about 100 candidates from the opposition withdrew from the race during the day. He said the alliance would hold a meeting on Monday to decide its next course.

On Friday, police in northeastern Sylhet said BNP followers had killed an Awami activist, bringing to three the number of ruling party supporters killed since November 8, AFP reported.

The deadly violence and bitter rivalry that marred the election campaign spilled over into voting day, even as authorities imposed tight security with 600,000 troops, police and other security forces deployed across the country.

The Bangladeshi leadership has alternated between Hasina and Zia, allies-turned-foes, over the last three decades. During the election campaign, thousands of government were taken opponent.

The Bangladeshi parliament comprises a total of 350 members, of which 50 seats are reserved for women who are elected later by the 300 directly-elected members on the basis of procedure of proportional representation in the parliament through single transferable vote.

Bagging only eight seats, the party and its Jatiya Oikya Front alliance have been marginalized to the weakest opposition ever since Bangladesh's post-Ershad democratic restoration in 1991.

"Some stray incidents have happened".

The broadcaster, which is owned by Jamuna Group - one of Bangladesh's biggest conglomerates, which also runs a newspaper - is known for its independent coverage.

Mobile internet was blocked and the streets of the capital, Dhaka were largely deserted as many had left to vote in their home towns.

"They told me not to bother, "We'll cast your vote on your behalf", he told AFP.

However, voters in provincial areas reported intimidation.

"They told me not to bother, "We'll cast your vote on your behalf", he said.

The opposition said the unrest was stirred up to deter voters, and presiding officers reported a low turnout across the country.

Hasina said the issue of her arch-rival Zia is a matter of court.

While rights groups have sounded the alarms about the erosion of Bangladesh's democracy, Hasina has promoted a different narrative, highlighting an ambitious economic agenda that has propelled Bangladesh past larger neighbors Pakistan and India by some development measures.

"I believe the people of Bangladesh [.] will give us another opportunity to serve them so that we can maintain our upward trend of development, and take Bangladesh forward as a developing country", said Hasina.

Hasina's party was leading in 114 seats while the BNP was ahead in two, according to TV channels.

Later BNP's Alamgir said "Now we've no expectation over the election".

The sample size of the survey was 2,249 and the respondents were drawn from the constituencies of 51 parliamentary seats on December 9-16, said Forrest E. Cookson, an American consultant who presented the findings at a news conference. "But they did (want to kill Hasina) and that's why they don't have the people's trust", he said.

Sixteen global human rights groups released a joint statement Saturday saying the crackdown "compromises the integrity" of the vote.

The country's Election Commision told a news agency that it is also investigating claims of vote rigging across the nation.

Her government was criticised earlier this year for its heavy handling of weeks of massive student protests over the abolition of job quotas and poor safety standards on Bangladesh's risky roads.

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