Bangladesh Elections (2014) – An Overview

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Overview of Bangladesh Elections 2014

Background

  • The opposition leader Khalida Zia wanted the Caretaker Government System (CTG) to oversee the elections. When this was not forthcoming, she gave a call to boycott the elections.
  • The Supreme Court was against the CTG system. Taking cue from the same, Sheikh Hasina government abolished the CTG system, through a constitutional amendment. Thereby, it restored the previous system that was prevailing.
  • Finally, Sheikh Hasina won more than 50% of the seats, uncontested. Immediately, she gave a declaration that she was ready for talks and dialogues with the opposition. Besides, she was also open to the concept of re-election.

Demands of Opposition?

Now, what were the demands of the opposition?

  • They demanded that if Sheikh Hasina contests then they would boycott. (This is not acceptable in a democracy.)
  • They were completely against the war-crime trials, and so they demanded those to be stopped.
  • They were against the abolition of the Jamaat-e-Islami party that was not allowed to contest in the election. The Sheikh Hasina government had earlier warned this party to remove the inflammatory material in their constitution, which was against the Bangladesh constitution. However, they did not do so, and so they were not allowed to contest.

Consequences of Election Boycott :

What were the consequences of the election boycott and the subsequent violence called-for by the opposition?

  • It has destroyed the economic life of the common man in Bangladesh.
  • The legitimacy of democracy has been questioned seriously.
  • The minorities (Hindus, Buddhists etc.) were targeted on a large-scale.
  • Violence was totally against the popular will of the people
  • The image of Bangladesh as a stable democracy has been diminished and questioned.

Other Countries Reaction:

What were the reposes from various countries?

  • India said that it respects the people‚Äôs verdict, and the democracy prevailing in Bangladesh. It also sided with the Sheikh Hasina government for having conducted the parliamentary elections in a very democratic manner
  • The USA begged to differ. They said that they were unhappy with the boycott by the opposition. Besides, they said that with no participation of the opposition, the legitimacy of the election process has been questioned. It has forged for re-election involving all the stakeholders.
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