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Bangladesh elections: deadly clashes mar vote

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Bangladeshi troops patrol the streets of Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh on the eve of the general elections on Dec. 29, 2018. Xinhua

DHAKA (NNN-BSS) – Nationwide voting opened yesterday morning, in Bangladesh’s general elections, to elect hundreds of representatives to parliament, amid reports of stray violence.

At least two people were reportedly killed in election-related violence in two southeastern districts.

Stray incidents of violence have also been reported from some parts of the country, where around 1,861 candidates are contesting for 299 out of the 300 directly-elected parliamentary constituencies.

Election at one constituency has been postponed due to the death of a candidate. There are over 104 million registered voters in the country.

The voting started at 8:00 am local time, at around 40,000 polling stations nationwide, and continued without a break until 4:00 pm

The counting of votes was to be done on the spot, soon after polling was concluded. Nearly one million security personnel, including army, police and the Border Guard Bangladesh, have already been deployed.

In order to facilitate the voting process, a public holiday has been declared across the country.

The Bangladeshi parliament comprises a total of 350 members, of which 50 seats are reserved for women, who are elected later, by the 300 directly-elected members, on the basis of procedure of proportional representation in parliament through single transferable vote.

In Bangladesh, a party can only form the government, if it manages to clinch 151 seats in total.

The Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League-led Grand Alliance, will be locking horns with former Prime Minister, Khaleda Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its allies, which boycotted the 2014 elections.

Ms Hasina is seeking a third five-year term in the South Asian nation of about 165 million people.

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