Early results show that Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is heading for a landslide victory in Sunday's general election, local TV said. Hasina raced into a clear lead, quickly securing 19 seats against zero for the opposition, according to Channel 24, which is compiling results from around the country.
The election process was marred by violence as at least 17 people were killed in clashes after a bloody campaign overshadowed by a crackdown on the opposition by Hasina who is expected to win a historic but controversial fourth term.
Three men were shot by police while six others died in clashes between activists from the ruling Bangladesh Awami League and opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), police said. An auxiliary police member was killed after being attacked by opposition activists armed with guns and sticks, according to officials.
Meanwhile, the election commission has announced Hasina's victory from Gopalgunj-3 constituency. She won by a landslide, bagging 229,539 votes while her main BNP opponent could manage just 123.
Bangladesh's leader has been lauded for boosting economic growth in the poor Asian nation during an unbroken decade in power and for welcoming Rohingya refugees fleeing a military crackdown in neighbouring Myanmar.
But critics accuse her of authoritarianism and crippling the opposition — including arch-rival Khaleda Zia who is serving 17 years in prison on graft charges — to cling on to power.