Today: Sunday, 3 March 2024 year

General parliamentary elections have begun in Bangladesh.

General parliamentary elections have begun in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh’s twelfth parliamentary elections began amid tight security and a boycott and strike by the main opposition party.

Voting in Bangladesh began on Sunday morning and will last eight hours at more than 42,000 polling stations across the country. 119.1 million registered voters will take part in the elections.

The Parliament of Bangladesh has 350 seats. 300 deputies are elected through voting, the remaining 50 seats are reserved for women and are distributed depending on the distribution of forces in parliament after the elections. About 2 thousand candidates are participating in the race, of which a record 5.1% are women. The counting of votes will begin after voting closes, with the first results expected by Monday.

The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, led by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, began a 48-hour general strike yesterday. The party said it could not guarantee the integrity of the elections under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is keen to remain in power. The opposition has vowed to disrupt the elections, calling for strikes and asking people to join a boycott.

Sheikh Hasina has served as Prime Minister of Bangladesh since 2009. She previously served as prime minister from 1996 to 2001, when she was succeeded by Khaleda Zia.

Khaleda Zia became the first female prime minister of Bangladesh in 1991. She previously served two terms as prime minister, from 1991 to 1996, and again from 2001 to 2006. Zia, currently under house arrest, is seeking a third term as prime minister.

The election campaign, which began in October, has been marked by protests and violence that have killed at least 15 people. Earlier on Saturday, four people were killed in a train arson attack in the capital Dhaka. A police spokesman said there were “definitely” people behind it who wanted to disrupt the election.

The elections are taking place under enhanced security measures. Earlier, the army command announced that from January 3 to 10 it would deploy armed forces in the country to maintain law and order.