Dhaka, Bangladesh
Hasina to be PM for fourth time

Hasina to be PM for fourth time

Her coalition bags a landslide in Sunday’s polls

News Report Sheik Hasina is poised to be a longest-serving prime minister in world politics as her coalition scored a landslide in an election in which the opposition played truant. Results of Sunday’s voting reaching the returning officers appointed by the Election Commission across the country showed the ruling Awami League and its Grand Alliance taking most seats, leaving a few for the BNP and its Jatiya Oikya Front. When sworn in, she would hold office as the head of government for a fourth term in total and a third term in a row—a status hardly held by any female politician in the world. Indira Gandhi had served as prime minister of India for three consecutive terms (1966–77) and a fourth term (from 1980) cut short by her assassination in 1984. Angela Merkel is in her fourth tenure as Chancellor of Germany since 2017. However, the way the BNP and its newfound greater coalition, the JOF, joined the polls by breaking a protracted boycott since the last polls held in 2014, set candidates, led campaigns and attended the polling centres took most analysts by surprise. “It’s mysterious,” said Prof Zia Rahman doing an anatomy of the polls and the BNP attitude at a TV talk show, as reports said their polling agents were not found in many polling centres and even some candidates didn’t turn up to see what. The opposition parties and alliances had demanded the election to be held under a neutral interim government after dissolution of parliament. Their movement having failed, they eventually decided to join the polls, keeping their demand in abeyance, avowedly to disprove that election under party government cannot be held fairly in Bangladesh context. The national elections 2018 were finally held under the party government and without dissolution of parliament. The analysts pointed out that the onus lay with the government to prove that it is possible. Following lots of developments on the political front, including the jailing of BNP chief and ex-PM Khaleda Zia, the election took place this time with participation of all registered parties on government assurances that the polls would be held in an inclusive, free and fair manner. But, in view of the outcome, the analysts wondered if the opposition deliberately gave the ruling coalition a ‘walkover’ to prove their argument that fair election is not possible under party government. “It may create problem for the government,” said Prof Zia and agreed other participants. As they spoke, the BNP-dominated Front came up with a demand for the EC to declare the polls void and call fresh election as they alleged the vote turned out to be a ‘farce’. On the other side, AL leaders hailed it as a historic election under a party government. “The participation of people of all strata in the election proves that it was held peacefully,” AL spokesman HT Imam told the reporters at a post-pool press conference.

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