DHAKA, January 4: Congratulatory messages are flowing to Bangladesh’s Prime Minister-elect Sheikh Hasina, ensuring she will withstand the reverberating calls to investigate serious allegations of widespread irregularities in Sunday’s election that was dominated by her coalition.
Hasina is set to form her third consecutive government and fourth overall, and on Thursday the figurehead President M. Abdul Hamid invited her to form the Cabinet. The new members of Parliament took their oaths on Thursday though seven opposition members boycotted. The new Cabinet will take their oaths on Monday.
The international reaction to allegations of irregularities was not clear initially, but the scenario quickly settled after India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi showed the way and China followed, congratulating Hasina for the massive victory with her Awami League party-led alliance winning 288 seats in the 300-seat Parliament.
The opposition-led alliance had only seven seats.
Saudi Arabia, Russia, Qatar, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Bhutan and Pakistan congratulated Hasina, while the United States and the European Union said they wanted to continue to cooperate with the government.
An analyst says the UN “would be happy” to see Hasina at the helm.
After coming to power in 2008 with a landslide victory, Hasina cautiously started building strategic partnerships with India, China, Russia and Saudi Arabia. She followed that trend again when she return to power in 2014.
Bangladesh joined a 34-nation Islamic military coalition to fight terrorism under the leadership of Saudi Arabia and is building its first nuclear power plant with Russia and India. Hasina bought two submarines from China for the first time and invited Japan to invest in infrastructure development, especially in power plants.
Bangladesh also became a member of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which is a potential rival to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The European Union is a big export market, especially for Bangladesh’s garment products. Bangladesh traditionally buys its regular arms for its defense from China. (AP)