Bishop wants fresh poll in Bangladesh

· Polls open in Bangladesh
· Eight killed in Bangladesh clashes

Australia has joined calls for a fresh election in Bangladesh after a weekend poll marred by deadly violence.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has expressed concern about the continuing political unrest that undermined the election on January 5, which was won by the Awami League government after the opposition boycotted the poll.

She says the government and opposition have a shared responsibility to hold a new, fully contested and transparent election as soon as possible.

“The Australian government condemns the attacks against minorities, and calls on all sides to end the political violence,” Ms Bishop said in a statement.

“It is vital that the people of Bangladesh are able to express their democratic will and exercise real choice.”

At least 26 people were killed during the election.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has raised its travel warning to “reconsider your need to travel” because of the possibility of further violence.

The United States is leading international calls for a swift re-run.

Main opposition party, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, decided to boycott the election after the government refused to put in place an impartial caretaker government to oversee it, which had been the usual practice.

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