The Election Working Group (EWG), a non-partisan network of 29 leading civil society organisations that observed the 10th parliamentary polls in a limited capacity, claimed that 30.1% of the electorate voted on Sunday.
The turnout was significantly lower than in the previous two parliamentary polls. In 2008, turnout was 85.93%, while it was 74.37% in 2001.
“Incidents of violence, snatching of ballot boxes and crude bomb blasts at polling stations were observed,” EWG Director Md Abdu Alim said in a preliminary report presented at a press conference in the city yesterday.
There appeared to be little enthusiasm among the voters as a majority of the parliamentary seats were won uncontested, in addition to a boycott and resistance by the BNP-led opposition alliance, it said.
The group also termed the elections “a rare one” since 153 candidates were elected unopposed. Steering Committee member Nazmul Ahsan Kalimullah said the elections were still “better than nothing.”
EWG deployed 8,444 observers at 1,689 polling centres in 75 constituencies in 43 districts – out of 59 – where elections were held.
The turnout of female voters was 31.2%, while the male voter turnout was 28.9%, the report says.
The voter turnout varied across constituencies, with Dhaka 17 (Banani-Gulshan) recording the lowest 6.4%, while Gopalganj 1 the highest with 74%.
The EWG observers also witnessed 72 instances of violence near polling stations, with 23 incidents occurring in Rajshahi and 21 in Rangpur.