Sheikh Hasina set to return for the fourth term in Bangladesh polls

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Awami League is set to be re-elected for the fourth straight parliamentary term, amid accusations that there are no free and fair election.

The election is due on Jan 7.

Opposition party Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its allies charged that there would be no free and fair elections under Hasina

They wanted the polls to be conducted by an interim government. Hasina rejected the proposal.

“Democracy is dead in Bangladesh. What we are going to see in January is a fake election,” Abdul Moyeen Khan, a senior BNP leader, reported the BBC.

As a result, the national polls would only see candidates from Awami League, its allies and independents.

The government however rejects these accusations.

“Elections are determined by the participation of the people to vote. There are many political parties, apart from the BNP taking part in this election,” Law Minister Anisul Huq said.

Khan has also claimed that over 20,000 party supporters have been detained for “fictitious and concocted charges”.

Huq denied it.

“I have checked and it’s half that number. Some of the cases go back to violent incidents that took place during the 2001 and 2014 elections.”

One interesting aspect of Bangladesh politics is both of the main parties are led by women.

Awami League is led by Sheikh Hasina and BNP, Khaleda Zia. Zia is currently under house arrest.