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Bangladesh: Counting begins as national polls end, 27pc votes cast till 3pm

Dhaka [Bangladesh]: The counting of votes has begun in Bangladesh as polling for the 12th Parliamentary elections in the country ended on Sunday, with 27 per cent votes cast till 3 pm (local time), the Dhaka Tribune reported.

The voting began at 8 am at 261,912 polling stations in 42,024 voting centres and continued until 4 pm.
Amid calls for a boycott from the Opposition, including the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), the country voted to elect members for 299 parliamentary seats.

However, polls were postponed in one seat due to the death of a candidate.

Overall, 27 per cent votes were cast in the first seven hours, from 8 am to 3 pm (local time), Md. Jahangir Alam, secretary of the Election Commission (EC), said during a news conference at the Agargaon Election Commission (EC) headquarters, according to Dhaka Tribune.
Bangladesh's 119.6 million citizens were supposed to vote in the 12th national parliamentary election.

Some 800,000 security personnel were kept on election duty to maintain the electoral atmosphere by checking for violations of codes of conduct throughout the country.

They include 38,154 Army personnel, 2,827 Navy personnel (19 districts), 45,185 (1,158 platoons) BGB personnel, 2520 (75 platoons) Coast Guard personnel, 600 RAB teams and 95 RAB reserve teams, 184,959 police personnel, and 558,500 Ansar men. Furthermore, 653 judicial judges and 2,076 executive magistrates were deployed in the field to penalise violations of the election code of conduct, the Dhaka Tribune reported.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to win a fourth straight term in the absence of the main opposition BNP, which on Saturday began a 48-hour nationwide strike against the 'illegal government' amidst violence and a crackdown on protesters, according to Al Jazeera.

The Supreme Court on December 27 provided clearance for the Election Commission (EC) to proceed with the general elections.

The poll panel made thorough arrangements ahead of the 12th national elections. As many as 127 foreign observers will track the election process to assess the election's fairness.

International election expert teams from the European Union are present in Dhaka, and foreign observers from various countries, including a Commonwealth team, are monitoring the elections, according to reports. (ANI)

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