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Bangladesh election winner urges loser to concede

 Newly elected member of Parliament from the Awami League party A.K.M Rahamatullah displays the victory sign as he arrives at the residence of party P...
 Supporters of Awami League hug each other as they celebrate the party�s performance outside the residence of party President Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka, ...
 Supporter of Awami League party wait to congratulate party President Sheikh Hasina, portrait seen background, as a security personnel stands guard ou...
 Bangladesh�s former Prime Minister and Awami League President Sheikh Hasina, right, receives flowers from supporters at her residence in Dhaka, Bangl...

Bangladesh Election

Newly elected member of Parliament from the Awami League party A.K.M Rahamatullah displays the victory sign as he arrives at the residence of party P...

Bangladesh Election

Supporters of Awami League hug each other as they celebrate the party�s performance outside the residence of party President Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka, ...

Bangladesh Election

Supporter of Awami League party wait to congratulate party President Sheikh Hasina, portrait seen background, as a security personnel stands guard ou...

Bangladesh Election

Bangladesh�s former Prime Minister and Awami League President Sheikh Hasina, right, receives flowers from supporters at her residence in Dhaka, Bangl...

The winner of this week's election landslide in Bangladesh pledged Wednesday to end the South Asian country's politics of violence and called on her archrival to concede defeat and cooperate in restoring democracy.
An alliance led by former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina won 262 of the Parliament's 300 seats Monday in polls to end two years of military-backed rule that were proclaimed open and fair by foreign observers.
However, her rival, former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, rejected the vote and alleged widespread fraud, indicating Hasina will find it difficult to escape the paralyzing power struggles, street protests and corruption that have long plagued the country. Both Hasina and Zia faced recent corruption charges.
Hasina said Wednesday in her first news conference since her victory that Zia must accept the election results.
"She should accept the people's verdict," she said. "Everyone knows this election has been free and fair."
"We no longer want the politics of violence and clashes," she said. "My government will serve the people Bangladesh irrespective of political faith."
The election Monday was the country's first in seven years and its most peaceful in decades. Failed elections in 2007 dissolved into street riots and ushered in two years of interim government backed by the military.
Zia said in news conference that the vote result did not reflect the will of the people. Her party has filed complaints with the Election Commission, charging ballot-rigging and forgery at 220 polling stations, including election officials registering fake votes.
"It is a farcical election," she said.
However, both Bangladeshi and international observers expressed satisfaction with the polling.
"This has been a very free and fair election," said Election Commission Secretary Humayun Kabir, who had 20,000 observers monitoring the vote. He said he would investigate Zia's allegations.
International observers, including European Union monitors, urged the opposition to accept the results.
"The process appears to have yielded a result that accurately reflects the will of Bangladeshi voters," said Constance Berry Newman, head of a 65-person delegation from the International Republican Institute, a Washington-based group that promotes democracy.
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus, the Bangladeshi microcredit pioneer, congratulated Hasina on her victory.
"This absolute majority will give you a chance to bring about a real change in the country," Yunus said in an open letter to Hasina published Wednesday.
Much of the credit for the smooth election went to an extensive operation by the military _ backed by U.N. financing _ to clean up the voter rolls. More than 81 million eligible voters were photographed and given national ID cards in a process that helped root out about 10 million fake or duplicate names.
But the attempt to fight corruption had mixed results, including the failure to prevent Hasina and Zia from competing in the election. Both were among more than 200 top politicians charged with corruption, but they were freed by the country's high court before the balloting.
The two women have dominated Bangladeshi politics for two decades, which is more a reflection on South Asia's penchant for political dynasties than the role of women in this Muslim nation.
Though bitter rivals, their parties campaigned on similar platforms of reducing corruption and controlling inflation. One of the few policy differences is that Hasina's party is seen as relatively secular and liberal, while Zia has allies among Islamic fundamentalists.
___
Associated Press writers Parveen Ahmed and Julhas Alam contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-07-25 18:42 GMT+08:00