December 30, 2008 12:09:14 am
Former prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League-led grand alliance was 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 from different constituencies indicated the Awami League-led alliance was leading in more than 70 per cent of the constituencies.
The fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami, a crucial ally of BNP in the four-party alliance, appeared to be losing in all seats it was contesting with its chief Motiur Rahman Nizami and secretary general Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojahid already conceding defeat in their constituencies.
A huge voter turnout of over 80 per cent on Monday 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, 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.
This was the the 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.
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