Dec. 30 (UPI) -- At least 17 people died in election-related violence in Bangladesh on Sunday.
As Bangladeshis cast their ballots to elect members of parliament and gave Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, 71, a record fourth term, violence broke out between supporters of her ruling Awami League and the opposition Jatiya Oikya Front.
Hasina's Awami League has been in power since 2009 and had an overwhelming victory in January 2014 amid a boycott. In Sunday's election, the Awami League party won 288 of the 350 seats with another 50 seats reserved for women. The opposition alliance of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, which included Jatiya Oikya Front, secured six seats.
During a strong economy, Hasina has been accused of authoritarianism and harassment of the media and opposition figures.
Jatiya Oikya Front claimed its activists were arrested leading up to election and votes were rigged.
Mahbubul Alam Hanif, joint general-secretary of the ruling party, said "we are happy with the way the vote turned out. I believe Awami League will gain an absolute victory."
Around 600,000 security personnel were deployed across the country, and the capital, Dhaka, remained relatively calm.
Nine people were killed in Chittagong division, police officials said in a report by CNN.
One man was shot dead while trying to steal ballot box in central Cumilla.
A member of a law enforcement agency was killed in southeastern Noakhali, the Daily Star reported.
Human Rights Watch last week said a "repressive political environment in Bangladesh ahead of the December 30, 2018 national elections is undermining the credibility of the process."
The 37-page report said police had failed to act impartially and ignored attacks on opposition figures.
"Authoritarian measures, including widespread surveillance and a crackdown on free speech, have contributed to a widely described climate of fear," the report said.
The elections commission said it would investigate allegations of vote rigging.