Magazine article New Internationalist

Sheikh Hasina

Magazine article New Internationalist

Sheikh Hasina

Article excerpt

The leader of the Awami League won controversial re-election in Bangladesh's 6 January poll, which was marred by boycotts, burning buses, and police and vigilante violence. When the smoke had cleared, 18 people were dead, more than 100 polling stations had been set on fire and less than 40 per cent of voters had bothered to turn up. The main opposition Bangladeshi Nationalist Party (BNP) boycotted the elections when Hasina scrapped the practice of having a caretaker government oversee elections to ensure fairness.

Bangladesh has the unusual situation for a Muslim country of being presided over by two ageing autocratic matriarchs - Hasina and Begum Khaleda Zia, leader of the BNP. The two women (who have hardly ever met) have rotated in and out of power for over two decades, ruling one of the world's poorest countries. …

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