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Bangladesh will vote for 12th parliament election on Sunday

BangladeshBangladesh will vote for 12th parliament election on Sunday

Bangladesh, a nation with a population of nearly 180 million, is set to conduct its 12th national election on January 7. In this election, voters will choose 300 lawmakers from a pool of 1,970 candidates, including 90 women and 79 individuals from religious and ethnic minorities. The electoral landscape also features a record number of 747 independent candidates, with a significant majority affiliated with the ruling Awami League among the 28 political parties participating.

The Awami League, led by Sheikh Hasina, aims for its fourth term and is contesting 266 seats, leaving the remaining seats for its alliance partners. The main opposition party, Jatiya Party (JP), initially nominated 265 candidates, but some withdrew, reducing the total. The Awami League has been in power since 2009, while the JP serves as the main opposition in parliament.

As election fever grips the nation, unfortunate incidents mar the process. A Dhaka-bound Benapole Express train was set on fire in the capital, resulting in the tragic deaths of four passengers. Incidents of fire and violence were reported across Bangladesh as the election campaign concluded.

Amidst this political landscape, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its allies have called for a countrywide hartal from Saturday morning to Monday morning, protesting what they allege as an inability to conduct a free and fair election under the current government. The Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) has imposed restrictions on the movement of various vehicles in the DMP area surrounding the election day.

Concerns for minority communities’ safety during the pre- and post-polling periods have been raised by leaders of religious minority groups. The Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Oikya Parishad claims that many members of minority communities are experiencing insecurity due to the national election.

To maintain peace and order, armed forces will be deployed across Bangladesh until January 10, as per an official media release. The deployment aims to assist local civil administration in ensuring a free, fair, and peaceful election. In addition to the armed forces, members of the Coast Guard, Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), armed police, and Ansar will also be on election duty.

The national parliament of Bangladesh, known as Jatiyo Sangshad, has 350 members, with 300 directly elected through voting for a five-year term in single-seat constituencies. The remaining 50 memberships are reserved for women nominated by the government.

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