Oman


Bangladesh expats expect another poll



Muscat: After Bangladesh's ruling party Awami League won 232 of 300 seats in the general elections marred by violence and boycotted by the main opposition party, the Bangladeshi expatriates in Oman are expecting a re-election soon.

"With an opposition boycott, only fewer than half of districts were contested. Polling day violence has claimed at least 18 lives. Without opposition's voice, the ruling party will act like a dictator. This will lead to more violence and chaos. So, we are expecting a re-election soon, and all the parties will get a chance to contest," a group of Bangladeshi expatriates in Oman said.

"We are expecting that both the ruling party and the opposition sit together and sort out the differences.

Only then a chaotic situation can be avoided and the country can progress," they added.

With fewer than half of the 300 seats being contested, voters in modest numbers cast ballots on Sunday amid heavy security in polling that lacked the festive spirit typical of Bangladeshi elections and was shunned by international observers as flawed.

"This election was a farce. It seems that the ruling party has used all its power to garner votes. They had to fulfil the constitutional responsibilities. So, they conducted the election by keeping the opposition at bay. This is not going to solve the current issues. There will be more chaos in the country.

And we expect that soon there will be a re-election," Faisal, a Bangladeshi medic working in Oman, said.

"Now with this kind of favourable election outcome, the ruling party will be flexing its muscle to muzzle the opposition, which will eventually lead to more trouble in the country," the medic added.

Reports from Bangladesh said low voter participation could pile new pressure on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to find a compromise with the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) for holding new elections.

Either Hasina or BNP chief Begum Khaleda Zia has been prime minister for all but two of the past 22 years. The two are bitter rivals. The Awami League won 105 of the contested seats, on top of the 127 seats where it ran unopposed, giving it more than a two-thirds majority. Hasina is expected to form a new government this month.

"Although the government conducted the election by obeying the constitution, media reports revealed that there was a low turnout at the polling booths. Moreover, opposition had boycotted the elections.

So, I feel that the present victory for Hasina is not a true one. So, the chaos may continue and it may worsen and result in another election," Mohammed Sanaullah, a Bangladeshi engineer said.


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