Bangladeshi elections have just been completed, even though the opposition party has abstained, casting a long shadow on the legitimacy of the results.

People went to the voting amidst violence and demonstrations.  

What has caused long term unrest to become all out strife has to do with a few reforms that have pushed Bangladesh into a more progressive and secular era, and at the same time reopened old wounds with the reestablishment of war crime tribunals that have already reversed long term prison sentences to death sentences for some of the war criminals accused. 

Sheik Hasina, just re-elected, has reiterated just this week her wish to secure a more democratic future for Bangladesh, but she is doing so without the consent of the opposition party.  To them, this ideal of democracy and the idealization of the war of independence is a signal of a line being drawn in the sand.  

During the elections, almost 150 polling centers were torched down by opposition activists.  For those centers, re-elections have been scheduled, although they will not affect the majority seats already obtained by the victor. 

Against Ms. Hasina stands opposition arch rival Ms. Khaleda Zia.  Hasina is appealing to her opponent to let go of her alliances with Jamaat -e - Islami, the radicalized faction of the opposition whose leader Mollah, was just executed after the retrial in the war crime proceedings.  She also pointed the finger at the opposition for trying to sabotage the elections by acts of violence, which resulted in the death of 25 people. 

The opposition's campaign of violence, did bear some fruit.  The attendance was low, as people feared the Molotov attacks that have been reported countrywide.  

Apart from the violence, the elections proceeded smoothly enough, especially in the larger cities, according to observers.  However, no European or American observers attended the elections. 

Source : The Hindu/ 1.7.14

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