Bangladesh: High abstention in general elections without any real suspense

Polling stations have closed in Bangladesh in general elections without any real suspense: the main opposition party, the nationalist BNP party, is boycotting the election and contesting its impartiality. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who has been in power for 15 years, is therefore guaranteed to win a fourth consecutive term. The only issue at stake in this election was turnout, but this is a bit of a disappointment.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (pictured), who has been in power for 15 years, is certain to win a fourth consecutive term. AFP/File

By: RFI Follow


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With our regional correspondent, Sébastien Farcis

Turnout in these parliamentary elections was about 40%, according to the Elections Commission. More than half of Bangladeshi voters would therefore have shunned this election without stakes, an abstention rate twice as high as five years ago.


This contradicts the gamble of the ruling Awami League party, which wanted to counter the opposition's boycott by showing that there was still a stake, and therefore a high turnout. A gamble that did not pay off.


Several incidents punctuated the day of voting: a bomb was thrown near a polling station in Dhaka, injuring four people. A ruling Awami League candidate was disqualified after threatening police officers and eight independent candidates joined the boycott of the vote after their observers were reportedly expelled from polling stations, and Awami supporters stuffed ballot boxes with pre-filled ballots. An investigation has been launched into the matter.

Read alsoBangladesh goes to the polls for legislative elections boycotted by the opposition

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  • Bangladesh
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