Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has clinched a fifth term, with her ruling Awami League winning nearly 75% of the seats in Sunday's polls.
The election was marred by the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) boycotting the vote, citing Hasina's refusal to resign and allow a neutral authority to oversee the electoral process.
The U.S. State Department declared the elections in Bangladesh as not free and fair, expressing concern over reported irregularities and condemning the violence that occurred during the process. The British government's foreign office also criticized what it called "acts of intimidation and violence."
Despite the low voter turnout of approximately 42%, Hasina played down the opposition's absence, emphasizing the democratic right of political parties to make decisions. She outlined her focus for the next five years on boosting the economy.
Critics accuse Hasina of authoritarianism, human rights violations, and suppressing dissent. According to Reuters, the election results reveal a notable dominance of the Awami League, winning 222 out of 298 seats, while independent candidates, many affiliated with the ruling party, secured 62 seats.
The BNP, dissatisfied with the outcome, called for a fresh election under a caretaker administration, demanding the cancellation of the current results and Hasina's resignation. Observers and experts warn of potential post-election violence and stress the need for a new political settlement to address the ongoing political upheaval in Bangladesh.
India, China, Russia, Bhutan, the Philippines, Myanmar, Singapore, and Sri Lanka congratulated PM Sheikh Hasina on her victory, expressing continued support. Pakistani Prime Minister Kakar also congratulated Hasina, stressing the importance of bilateral cooperation.