Bangladesh 2008: 98% of seats

Elections to the National Assembly (Jatiyo Sangshad) were held yesterday in Bangladesh. These were the first elections since 2001 and are the likely end to the recent political crisis in the country. Turnout was 80%, the highest in Bengali history. The Electoral Commish has results for 295/300 seats. Four are unknown, and voting in one constituency was postponed due to the death of a candidate. The opposition Awami League, a nominally socialist party, but whose real ideology is corruption, won a landslide mainly because it was not the government. Bangladesh is generally anti-incumbent. The 2001-2007 government led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP, not as bad as the British BNP but comes close), a conservative-nationalist but also corrupt party, took a thumping. The Awami League is generally secular and more multi-ethnic, promoting Bengali identity. The BNP is generally very conservative and Islamist, promoting more of a Muslim identity. The election was generally clean, and a lot of dead voters were purged and photo ID cards were required to prevent fraud.

Awami League 228 (+166)
Jatiya Party (Ershad) 27 (+16)
JSD-National Socialist Party 3 (+2)
Workers Party 2 (+1)
Liberal Democratic 1 (+1)
Grand Alliance 261 (+186)
BNP 27 (-166)
Jamaat-e-Islami 2 (-15)
Bangladesh Jatiya Party 1 (-4)
Four-Party Alliance 30 (-185)
Indies 4 (-2)

The Islamists also took a thumping, partly because it was affiliated with the BNP, and partly because it has lost popularity. For those wondering, the JSD is not a Nazi party, despite the name, but a socialist party.

AL leader and ex-PM Sheikh Hasina, daughter of former dictator Mujibur Rahman, will become Prime Minister. Hasina was formerly jailed for corruption, as was the leader of the BNP, Khaleda Zia, widow of another dictator. Both were released to run in the election. Ironically, the Awami League campaigned on the popular slogan of change and led an anti-corruption campaign aimed at the incumbents, the BNP (the BNP government from 2001 to 2007 was incompetent, even by the low standards for Bengali governments).

More when the PV data is released and when we have final results.

Posted on December 31, 2008, in Bangladesh. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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