Elections in Bangladesh tomorrow: All you need to know

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Elections in Bangladesh tomorrow: All you need to know

Bangladesh Elections: Violence erupted on the eve of the election as a passenger train was set on fire which officials called arson. Bangladesh is set to hold a general election with country’s prime minister Sheikh Hasina eyeing a fourth straight term and the fifth overall for her Awami League-led alliance. The country of almost 170 million people will vote tomorrow as polling begins at 8am and ends at 4pm. Counting will start soon after the end of voting. The initial results are expected by Monday. Here’s all you need to know about Bangladesh elections:

  1. The main opposition party is Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) of the former prime minister Khaleda Zia.
  2. The BNP is boycotting the poll after demanding Sheikh Hasina’s resignation as the party wanted a caretaker government to administer the election.
  3. Violence erupted on the eve of the election as a passenger train was set on fire which officials called arson. At least four people were killed and several polling booths set ablaze around the country, it was reported.
  4. Women are almost half of the nearly 120 million eligible voters. First-time voters number about 15 million, news agency Reuters reported.
  5. Nearly 2,000 candidates are vying for the 300 directly elected parliament seats. There is a record high 5.1% women candidates in the fray.
  6. There are 436 independent candidates in the race, the most since 2001 which the BNP claimed that the Awami League has propped up “dummy” candidates to try to make the election look credible.
  7. During Sheikh Hasina’s third term the country turned around the $416-billion economy and its massive garments industry. She was also praised internationally for sheltering nearly a million Rohingya Muslims fleeing from neighbouring Myanmar.
  8. The country’s economy, once among the world’s fastest-growing, was rocked by violent protests recently after a jump in the cost of living.
  9. Bangladesh struggles to pay for costly energy imports amid depleting dollar reserves and a domestic currency.
  10. The International Monetary Fund cleared the first review of Bangladesh’s $4.7 billion bailout in December. This provided immediate access to $468.3 million and set $221.5 million for its climate change agenda.
  11. Nearly 800,000 police, paramilitary and police auxiliaries will guard the polls on election day. Army, navy and air force have also been deployed while as many as 127 foreign observers will track the election process.