Bangladesh MPs sworn in after disputed polls

DHAKA, Jan. 9 (NsNewsWire) — Newly elected lawmakers from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s ruling Bangladesh Awami League party have been sworn in for a five-year term following the “disputed elections” on Jan 5.

Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury administered oath to the members of parliament (MPs)-elect belonging to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s ruling Bangladesh Awami League (AL) at about 10:20 am local time on Thursday.

A parliament house official who preferred anonymity said other MPs-elect were expected to take oath by Thursday evening.

The time for Thursday morning’s oath-taking ceremony had not been been announced earlier.

State-run Bangladesh Television broadcast live the ceremony.

The oath-taking ceremony came just a day after a gazette was published notifying the MPs-elect in the 10th parliamentary elections.

Mired in controversy, Bangladesh’s 10th parliamentary election was held in just 147 of 300 seats in 59 of 64 districts of the country on Jan 5. And, 153 candidates have been elected uncontested amid boycott by ex-Prime Minister Khaleda Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and 17 its allies.

According to results from the Election Commission, AL won 232 seats – 127 uncontested – securing absolute majority in the election.

Jatiya Party of former military strongman HM Ershad, who ruled Bangladesh for nearly nine years from 1982 to 1990, won 31 seats, including 13 on Sunday, and others took 27 seats.

A large section of international community, including Canada, Commonwealth, France, Germany, Britain, the United States and the United Nations, have expressed their disappointment over the elections.

They almost openly called for holding a fresh “inclusive, peaceful and credible democratic elections.”

Australia’s minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop said in a statement on Wednesday: “The government and the opposition must take up their shared responsibility to hold a new, fully contested and transparent election as soon as possible.”