Hasina thanks people, orders crack down on violence

Dhaka, Jan 6 : A day after the people of Bangladesh re-elected Sheikh Hasina's Awami League for another term with an overwhelming majority in violence-marred polling in the general elections, the prime minister thanked the voters Sunday while ordering a crackdown on the ongoing violence in the country.

"The opposition tried all means to stop people from going to poll centres... they enforced blockades, hartals, and bombed and attacked people and poll centres. Still people turned up to voting centres and cast their vote," said Hasina at a press conference here while thanking people for their participation in the parliamentary polls.

"The polling officials, even though a presiding officer was killed, attended their duties at all the polling centres," she added.

Hasina's Awami League (AL) party won 104 seats of the 147 contested in the elections. Having already won 127 seats uncontested, the party has 231 seats, gaining a clear three-fourths majority in the Bangladeshi parliament -- Jatiyo Sangshad.

Hasina, during the press conference at the prime minister's official residence -- Gono Bhaban, also ordered the enforcement agencies, army and administration to take stern action to stop post-poll violence and save people's lives, the Daily Star reported.

"At any cost, lives and properties of people have to be saved, peace ensured and post-poll violence stopped," she said while urging the international community for assistance in continuing the country's democratic process.

As Bangladesh elections were marred by widespread violence, opposition boycott and low turnout, Hasina, said: "I am satisfied with the fact that people managed to cast their votes."

Hasina, whose father, Bangabandhu Mujibur Rehman, and the entire family were wiped out in an August 1975 army coup, also said: "Trial for war crimes will go on and verdicts of the trial will be executed."

Earlier, the Election Commission announced the final results of 139 seats out of the 147 contested in the elections, reported.

Re-polling will be held in the remaining eight constituencies since balloting was suspended at many centres due to violence.

Since the major 18-party opposition alliance, led by Bangladesh Nationalist Party's Khaleda Zia boycotted the polls, former first lady Rowshan Ershad, wife of former president H.M. Ershad, will become Leader of Opposition in the country's 10th parliament, a party leader said Monday.

Ershad parted company with the ruling AL alliance just before the polls and decided to contest the polls separately and sit in the opposition. "We'll join parliament as main opposition, led by Rowshan Ershad," Jatiyo Party leader Kazi Firoz Rashid told Xinhua.

"She will be Leader of Opposition in the 10th parliament," Firoz Rashid added.

The Jatiyo Party emerged the main opposition party, winning 31 seats in Sunday's elections.

Former prime minister Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has called a nationwide 48-hour strike from Monday morning, demanding cancellation of the poll results.

Some 21 parties, including the BNP, boycotted the polls over Prime Minister Hasina's refusal to introduce a non-party interim government to oversee the elections.

The Bangladesh Election Commission has said the polls were fair.

--IANS (Posted on 06-01-2014)

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