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Bangladesh polls: Hasina-led alliance leads
December 29, 2008 23:38 IST
Former prime minister Sheikh Hasina's Awami League-led grand alliance was clearly leading in early unofficial results of the landmark general elections, as the Awami League chief recorded landslide wins in two of the three constituencies from where she was contesting.
The grand alliance candidates won in 10 constituencies out of 12 results announced so far, defeating nominees of Hasina's archrival ex-premier Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)-led four-party grouping. The Election Commission started giving unofficial results after the day-long voting for the 300-seat Parliament.
Reports reaching Dhaka from different constituencies indicated the Awami League-led alliance was leading in more than 70 per cent of the constituencies.
Election and political analysts earlier said they saw no clear favourites while the fight was expected to be a "razor's edge" one, with a slight tilt towards Awami League as BNP-led grouping had to ward off anti-incumbency factor. The fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami, a crucial ally of BNP in the four-party alliance, appeared to be losing in all the seats it was contesting with its chief Motiur Rahman Nizami and secretary general Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojahid already conceding defeat in their respective constituencies.
A huge voter turnout of over 80 per cent today marked Bangladesh's first general election in seven years after two years of emergency rule.
Amid unprecedented security, Bangladeshis gave an overwhelming response to the landmark election, which was largely peaceful, paving the way for the impoverished country's return to democracy.
Voting for the 300 seats in the National Assembly at 35,263 polling booths across the country began at 8 am and closed at 4 pm. The counting was launched immediately.
Officials, poll monitors and local media reported sporadic incidents of violence.
The reports said unidentified miscreants set three houses of a minority group on fire at in Fatikchhari of Chittagong even as stray incidents left some 50 people injured in Noakhali, Madaripur, Shariatpur and Bhola districts.
Officials said in most places army troops and other security forces including the elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) immediately intervened arresting dozens, many of them for violating election code.
This was the country's first ever election with digital electoral roll along with photographs under the military-backed interim government, which lifted the state of emergency on December 17. Today's poll came after two weeks of hectic electioneering by major political parties as Hasina and Zia wound up their campaigns with nationally televised speeches on Saturday evening in their bids.
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