STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
After election day violence that claimed more than a dozen lives, the ruling party in Bangladesh has won another term. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been in power since 2009. And out of 300 seats in Parliament, Hasina's party, the Awami League, won 288. The opposition is crying foul. NPR's Sushmita Pathak reports from Mumbai.
SUSHMITA PATHAK, BYLINE: The opposition alliance only bagged seven seats. Its leader, Kamal Hossain, is alleging that the vote was manipulated by the ruling party. Here he is talking to NDTV.
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KAMAL HOSSAIN: Over a hundred candidates rejected it and left the election and moved out. And so therefore, there is no doubt that this is an election which is totally unacceptable, as are its results.
PATHAK: The opposition is demanding fresh elections under a neutral government. Even before polling began, few were confident that the elections would be free and fair. Hasina's opponents had complained they weren't able to campaign freely. They say they were intimidated and couldn't organize, all allegations Hasina's party denies.
On Sunday, there were reports of ballot stuffing. Some opposition supporters claimed they were threatened by workers of the ruling party as they went to cast their ballot. Despite some 600,000 security forces being deployed, more than a dozen people were killed during voting. The Bangladesh Election Commission says it's looking into allegations of vote rigging, which the ruling party rejects. The week leading up to the election saw violent clashes between supporters of the rival political groups.
PATHAK: Protests continued into election day. For Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, this will be her third straight term in office. Over the last decade, she's had a good track record of economic growth and has been applauded for her handling of the Rohingya refugee crisis. But political analysts say her latest victory indicates Bangladesh is inching closer to authoritarianism.
Hasina was weighed down by allegations of human rights abuses and cracking down on free speech leading up to the election. Her administration drew flak earlier this year for arresting prominent Bangladeshi photographer Shahidul Alam after he criticized her government. Her archrival, former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, was imprisoned on corruption charges in February and wasn't eligible to run.
The United States had sent observers to monitor the election in Bangladesh but has yet to respond to the results. Meanwhile, India's prime minister, Narendra Modi, called Hasina early Monday to congratulate her. Sushmita Pathak, NPR News, Mumbai.
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