Sheikh Hasina has secured her fifth term as Bangladeshi prime minister in an election whose outcome was decided the moment its schedule was announced in early November when the main opposition boycotted the poll.
The surprise was who came second.
Instead of any political party, independent candidates secured a total of 63 seats, the second highest after Hasina’s Awami League (AL), which won 222, creating a problem of finding a parliamentary opposition.
The current opposition, the Jatiya Party, managed to secure just 11 of the 300 parliamentary seats, according to the Election Commission.
Almost all the winning independent contenders were people who had been rejected by the AL but were asked by the party leadership to stand as “dummy candidates” to give the election a competitive veneer in front of the world.
“This is a bizarre outcome of a bizarre election,” Shahidul Alam, a renowned Bangladeshi rights activist and photographer, told Al Jazeera. “Dummy candidates in a dummy election will now lead to a dummy parliament.” (Al Jazeera)