DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — The United States and the United Kingdom said the elections who extended the rule of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina were not credible, free and fair.
The two countries, which have trade and development ties with Bangladesh, also condemned Political violence who preceded Sunday election during which Hasina’s party won more than two-thirds of parliamentary seats despite low turnout and the main opposition party boycotting it.
“The United States remains concerned about the arrests of thousands of members of the political opposition and reports of election day irregularities. “The United States shares the view with other observers that these elections were not free or fair and we regret that not all parties participated,” the Department of Defense spokesperson said. State, Mathew Miller, from Washington.
He urged the Bangladesh government to credibly investigate reports of violence and hold those responsible to account.
The UK said democratic standards had not been consistently upheld in the run-up to the election.
“Democratic elections depend on credible, open and fair competition. Respect for human rights, the rule of law and due process are essential elements of the democratic process. These standards were not systematically respected during the electoral period. We are concerned about the significant number of arrests of opposition party members ahead of polling day,” the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said in a statement.
The US statement said they remain “committed to working with Bangladesh to advance our shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific, to supporting human rights and civil society in Bangladesh, and to deepening our ties economic and between peoples.
Bangladesh is an important partner of US interests in the Indo-Pacific region, alongside neighboring India, amid China’s growing influence.
China, Russia, India and some other countries congratulated Hasina on her victory and pledged to continue working with the South Asian nation.
The statements come after Hasina told a news conference on Monday that the elections were free and fair.
The ruling Awami League won 222 seats out of 299 contested. Independent candidates got 62, while the third-largest Jatiya Party won 11 seats and three smaller parties got 3 seats. The result for one seat has not been declared. The election of one seat was postponed due to the death of a candidate.
The main opposition party, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, led by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and her allies, boycotted the elections, and turnout was 41.8 percent. Although election day was relatively calm, a wave of violence preceded the vote.
Zia’s party said more than 20,000 supporters had been arrested since October 28, when an anti-government rally turned violent in Dhaka. The government disputed those figures and said the arrests were for specific charges such as arson and vandalism.
Bangladesh has a history of political violence, military coups and assassinations. Hasina and Zia ruled the country alternately for many years, cementing a feud that has since polarized Bangladesh’s politics and fueled violence around elections. This year’s vote has raised questions about his credibility when there is no major challenger to take on the incumbent president.