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Bangladesh Prime Minister Hasina pledges to allow criticism

January 30, 2019 GMT

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Newly re-elected Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has opened Parliament by assuring the opposition that she will allow it to criticize her.

Hasina is beginning a third consecutive five-year term after winning a massive victory in Dec. 30 elections. She says her government will not create obstacles to criticism by the opposition amid concerns that she could become increasingly authoritarian because of her overwhelming majority.

The main opposition alliance received only seven of the 300 seats in Parliament. All seven lawmakers are refraining from taking their oaths to protest the election results and were absent as Parliament opened Wednesday.

The opposition is demanding new elections, saying the polls were rigged, an allegation the Election Commission and Hasina have rejected.