Empty centres proof of boycott, says Bangladesh opposition

Dhaka, Jan 5 : Bangladesh's main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) said empty polling stations have proved that people have rejected the country's 10th parliamentary elections held Sunday.

"The whole world has seen polling centres without any voters. People have said 'no' to this controversial single-party election and have rejected it," quoted Mirza Fakhrul Islam, BNP's acting secretary general, as saying Sunday.

He added that the road, rail and waterways blockade across the country would continue until their movement succeeded.

The BNP-led opposition alliance has been enforcing a non-stop nationwide blockade since Jan 1. It also called a 48-hour general strike from Saturday to thwart the polls.

Voting in the elections began at 8 a.m. Sunday amid a series of violent incidents that has killed at least eight people in various districts, including an election officer.

Explosions occurred outside two polling stations in Dhaka, injuring at least five people.

Mired in controversy, the parliamentary elections are being held in just 147 out of 300 seats in 59 out of 64 districts of the country. As many as 153 candidates have already been elected unopposed amid a boycott by the main opposition party and its allies.

Some 21 parties, including former prime minister Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party, are boycotting the elections over Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's refusal to introduce a non-party interim government to oversee the elections.

--IANS (Posted on 05-01-2014)

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