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Bangladesh ruling party likely to win poll

DHAKA--Bangladesh's ruling party is set to win most of the seats in an upcoming election even before votes are cast, nomination figures showed Sunday, in a further blow to the credibility of the boycott-hit polls.

The government has been under intense international pressure to resolve a standoff over the general election set for Jan. 5 amid a worsening of political violence that has left at least 80 people dead since late October.

The ruling Awami League is determined to go ahead with the polls, even though the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its 17 allies have vowed to boycott them unless Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina quits beforehand.

With poll nominations closing late Friday, the Election Commission said 154 seats in the 300-seat parliament have only one candidate each on the ballot paper, and 127 of the 154 are from the Awami League.

Awami League allies were contesting another seven seats alone, meaning the ruling party or its allies need only win 17 of the contested seats to win a majority and stay in power.

BNP Vice-President Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury said the seats have “set a new mark in election fraudulence” in the country.

“It's totally farcical. The government is implementing a blueprint to rob the people of their voting rights,” he told AFP.

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