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Hasina's rival Khaleda rejects Bangla poll result

December 31, 2008 13:01 IST

Former premier and Bangladesh Nationalist Party chief Khaleda Zia on Wednesday rejected the result of Bangladesh's general election, saying the poll won by a landslide by her arch-rival Sheikh Hasina-led grand alliance had been "stage-managed".

"This farcical election is unacceptable to BNP," Zia told reporters just after midnight and claimed that she had evidence of rampant vote-rigging and that the high figures given by the Election Commission for voter turnout were false.

"At first, I want to thank the chief election commissioner for stage-managing the parliamentary election," she said sarcastically.

Asked if her BNP rejects the results, Zia, who emerged from a five-hour meeting of her party's national standing committee, replied: "You know what unacceptable means."

Zia's comments came as the EC on Monday night announced the results of 299 of the 300-seat parliament saying that Hasina's Awami League-led grand alliance won 262 seats while the BNP-led four-party alliance bagged 32 as record 85 per cent voters turned out to exercise their franchise.

Independent poll watchdogs and foreign observers widely certified the polls to be fair and credible but Zia said: "Everyone has witnessed how the blueprint has been implemented."

Zia's rejection threatens to throw Bangladesh into fresh political uncertainty after two years of emergency rule by an interim government backed by the military.

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