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Awami League to face a united opposition in elections in Bangladesh

Published Sep 23, 2018
Updated Jul 10, 2020

As Bangladesh goes in for parliamentary (Jatiya Sansad) election in last week of December, the ruling Awami League which has been in power for 10 years now is likely to face a coalition of parties led by the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and a unified group of smaller parties which have been formed by dissidents of the BNP and the Awami League. How far this will change the political equations in the country remains to be seen, however a stiff poll challenge awaits Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who also heads the Awami League.

Here is how the political formulations will stack up for the polls-

Prof AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury-led Juktafront and Dr Kamal Hossain-led Jatiya Oikya Prokriya announced their intent to form a front on 15 September .

The front held the first rally on 22 September at Mahanagar Natya Mancha in Dhaka which was also attended by leaders of the BNP. At the rally the familiar demand of formation of an election time government was made apart from reformation of the Election Commission.

 “The government will have to form a nonparty neutral election-time administration by September 30 through holding talks with opposition political parties to hold the next general election in a free and fair manner,” the ultimatum came from the rally

Eng Sheikh Muhammad Shahidullah, convener of National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power, and Ports, read out ultimatum on behalf of the Jatiya Oikya Prokriya.

BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir also attended the Rally and demanded that the government must resign and the current parliament should be dissolved. “The government must have to resign by dissolving the current parliament. Let’s come forward to build a greater national unity to restore democracy in the country through holding fair national polls,” Fakhrul said.

Commenting on the developments Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader said, “The unity they want to build, will be a Jatiyatabadi or a communal one, will not be accepted by the countrymen.” He also quoted the recent survey conducted by International Republican Institute (IRI) which has seen 66 percent respondents support Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina while around 64 percent support the Awami League. The IRI is a Washington based a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization.

It may be too early to assess the impact of the opposition alliance but the road for return to power for the Awami League may face some challenges.