‘Democracy should continue in this country’: Sheikh Hasina as Bangladesh goes to polls

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DHAKA (Bangladesh): The Bangladesh Prime Minister on Sunday emphasised the importance of democracy for the development of the country as the Asian nation goes to the polls for the 2024 general elections today.

“Our country is sovereign and independent…We have a big population. We have established people’s democratic rights…I want to make sure that democracy should continue in this country and without democracy, you can’t make any development. As we are a long-term democratic system from 2009 to 2023, that is why Bangladesh made this much of an achievement,” she said.

Nearly 170 million people in Bangladesh will vote to elect 299 lawmakers during the 12th national election on Sunday amid a boycott by the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

PM Hasina also underscored that her government created an atmosphere where people were able to come out and vote.

She stated, “My heartfelt thanks to the people of Bangladesh. There were many obstacles but the people of our country are very much aware of their voting rights and the need for polls…We were able to create an atmosphere where people were able to come out and vote.”

More than 42,000 polling stations are set for Sunday’s elections, where a total of 119.6 million registered voters are eligible to cast their votes, as reported by the country’s Election Commission.

Women make up almost half of the nearly 120 million eligible voters, while first-time voters number about 15 million.

Al Jazeera reported that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to win a fourth straight term in the absence of the main opposition BNP which on Saturday began a 48-hour nationwide strike against the “illegal government” amidst violence and a crackdown on protesters.

The Supreme Court on December 27 provided clearance for the Election Commission (EC) to proceed with the general elections.

The Election Commission has made thorough arrangements for the upcoming 12th national parliamentary election on January 7 to ensure a peaceful process. As many as 127 foreign observers will track the election process to assess the election’s fairness.

International election expert teams from the European Union are present in Dhaka, and foreign observers from various countries, including a Commonwealth team, are monitoring the elections. (ANI)

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