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USA: Bangladesh elections are neither free nor fair

Following the parliamentary elections in Bangladesh, the US government harshly criticized the way the vote was conducted. “The United States shares the view of other observers that these elections were not free and fair, and we regret that not all parties participated,” the State Department in Washington said yesterday.

They condemn the violence during the vote and “remain concerned” about the arrests of thousands of opposition members.

Opposition boycotted elections

As expected, the previous autocratic prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, secured a fifth term in the elections.

The main opposition party, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), boycotted the parliamentary elections because it believed they were not conducted fairly. According to the Election Commission, 76-year-old Hasina's party, the Awami League, secured 223 of 298 seats in parliament.

The US government further stated that it observed that Hasina's party won the majority of seats. “It supports the people of Bangladesh and their pursuit of democracy, peaceful assembly and freedom of expression,” he said. Washington called on all parties to reject violence.