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Why Awami League wins landslide victory in Bangladesh Parliamentary elections
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Bangladesh Election Commission Tuesday announced former prime minister Sheikh Hasina-led Awami League won a landslide victory in the country's 9th Parliamentary elections held on Monday.

Election Commission Secretary Humayun Kabir told reporters in a press conference Awami League won 229 out of 295 seats, according to polls results. Awami League's main rival former prime minister Khaleda Zia-led Bangladesh Nationalist Party won 27 seats.

Kabir said the results for two seats will come out later Tuesday and the announcement of results for another two seats was postponed for some irregularities.

Awami League got only 62 seats in 2001 Parliamentary elections when BNP got 193 seats which allowed BNP to form a government. But why Awami League won a landslide victory this time?

Before the elections, many people expected Awami League would win, but didn't expect they would win by a big margin.

Bangladesh's biggest English newspaper The Daily Star reported on Tuesday the shocking results clearly indicate that the voters, especially the new voters, were hungry for change that the BNP government was simply incapable of delivering.

According to Election Commission statistics, 31 percent of over 81 million registered voters are fresh voters. It was widely speculated Awami League won landslide victory due to the fresh voters' support.

Except the new voters, many senior Bangladeshis are also desiring for a change. They think the change will not only bring them hope, but also the development for the country.

Imam Uz Zaman, former chairman of Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC), told Xinhua before the elections the corruption was rampant when BNP was in power.

"Bangladesh had no evident economic development, the people's living standard also had no clear improvement in BNP time," he said.

Zaman thought the country needed a change, it was good for the people.

One Bangladeshi former ambassador who declined to give his name told Xinhua the people are tired of BNP rule, they want another party to rule the country.

"BNP and Awami League are the two biggest parties in Bangladesh, so if the people don't support BNP, they will support Awami League, " he said.

Shamsul Alam, a retired Bangladeshi army officer, said BNP had made no achievement during their rule from 2001 to 2006 and what the people remember BNP is their corruption.

Bangladesh was named the most corrupt country for five consecutive years by Transparency International. Out of the five years, four years were in BNP time.

Since 1991, BNP and Awami League ruled Bangladesh alternatively. Khaleda Zia was prime minister from 1991-1996 and from 2001-2006, Sheikh Hasina was prime minister from 1996 to 2001.

The Daily Star Tuesday said in a commentary BNP's devastating defeat is Awami League's most severest warning.

If the ruling party fails to keep their promises to the people and live up to the latter's expectation, they will face the verdict by the people in the next election, the commentary said.

The 9th Parliamentary elections organized by currency caretaker government was held with the highest voters' turnout and ended peacefully. Two hundred ninety-nine seats out of the 300 seats in Parliament were contested by 1555 candidates from 39 parties and independents. The election for the other seat was delayed to be held on Jan. 12 next year due to the death of one candidate.

(Xinhua News Agency December 30, 2008)

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