Fanning this fear is the widespread perception that neither the Awami League of former prime minister Sheikh Hasina nor the four-party alliance led by Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (bnp) will accept defeat. Says leading economist Wahiduddin Mahmud: "That's where the biggest problem lies and I'm deeply concerned about what's going to happen after the election."
Such concerns aren't unusual. Allegations of rigging were levelled in the last two elections (1991 and 1996). But such claims were dismissed because of the impartial conduct of the caretaker administrations.