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Hasina gets invite to form govt, oppn goes into hiding

world Updated: Jan 09, 2014 23:29 IST

Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid invited Awami League President Sheikh Hasina to form the government on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, the newly-elected lawmakers took their parliamentary oath on Thursday after an election condemned by critics as a farce and with feuding political leaders still locked in a deadly confrontation.

Led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, members of parliament from the ruling Awami League and lawmakers from her allies were sworn in, parliament’s spokesman Joynal Abedin told AFP. “Of the 300 lawmakers, 284 have taken the oath today. Others will be sworn in later,” Abedin said.

Meanwhile, the new cabinet will be sworn in Sunday, a week after the general elections. Sources from the ruling Awami League party said the new cabinet would have around 30 members but several ministers of the outgoing government are expected to be dropped for their poor performance or corruption.

Oppn in hiding

Opposition members in Bangladesh have gone into hiding as police carry out sweeping raids after the country’s violent national election, a news report and a rights group said Thursday. The ruling party easily won Sunday’s election, which was marred by street fighting, low turnout and an opposition boycott, with at least 18 people dying in election-related violence. The vote only exacerbated tensions in this South Asian nation, which has a grim history of political unrest.

Political violence has convulsed Bangladesh in recent months as opposition activists staged attacks, strikes and transportation blockades to protest Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government. Nearly 300 people have been killed in the violence since last February.

After her party swept the largely uncontested elections, Hasina said Monday that her first priority was to contain the violence with an “iron hand.”

On Tuesday, detectives arrested four opposition leaders, including an adviser to opposition chief and former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia. All four are still in jail.

Many other senior opposition leaders, including a former law minister, have been arrested in recent months on charges of fueling violence.