Security has been stepped up on the streets of Bangladesh ahead of Monday’s parliamentary elections. The vote is highly anticipated, coming after two years of emergency rule by a military-backed regime. Some 130,000 soldiers and police have been deployed for the election, which the West hopes will return the country to democracy.
One of the leading candidates is former prime minister Sheikh Hasina of the Awami League, who has accused her main rival of corruption, vote-rigging and incompetence. But the same charges have been levelled against her by the other leading candidate, Khaleda Zia of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party. The military-backed government seized power after months of violent demonstrations over claims of widespread political corruption. Zia and Hasina both led governments embroiled in scandal, but have managed to make comebacks for these new polls.