When Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was elected in 2009, she promised to reduce poverty, stimulate growth and propel her then-impoverished nation into the digital age. Over the last decade, she has done exactly that.
Per capita income has nearly tripled. Instances of extreme poverty have been halved. Women are far better educated, safer and more prosperous than their mothers. No wonder the prime minister and her Awami League party were overwhelmingly re-elected in December for a third consecutive term.
Some in the international media found it hard to believe that Bangladeshi voters could back one party so thoroughly. A closer look at the polls and how much life has improved in Bangladesh over the last 10 years removes that doubt.… Seguir leyendo »
On December 30, Bangladesh's government was reelected in a landslide. According to the country's Election Commission, the Awami League (AL)-led ruling coalition won an astounding 288 out of the 300 parliamentary seats up for grabs. The political opposition has understandably alleged massive rigging, rejected the results, and called for new elections.
The disputed election outcome could plunge Bangladeshi politics, already poisoned by bitter and often violently expressed partisanship, into a new and dangerous era.
The opposition has every reason to be furious. For several years, the AL has engaged in a systematic campaign to undercut the opposition, if not dismantle it altogether.… Seguir leyendo »
Elections in Bangladesh are never tame. There were boycotts during the last parliamentary election in 2014, and voting-day violence killed some 20 people. The one before that, in December 2008, was notable for having taken place at all: Originally scheduled for January 2007, it was postponed after a military-backed coup and street battles that shut down the country.
This year again, in the lead-up to the next parliamentary election on Sunday, violent skirmishes have broken out between supporters of the two main camps, the incumbent Awami League and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (B.N.P.). Fatalities remain lower so far than in the past, but the stakes of this race are no less high: At bottom, this election is a contest between two forms of authoritarianism — only one is more dangerous than the other.… Seguir leyendo »
Bangladesh made the Guinness book of world records on 16 December. It was Victory day, the anniversary of independence from Pakistan, and 27,000 people held up coloured placards to form the world's largest human flag – a show of solidarity in what would turn out to be a fractious and divisive year. It had begun with great hope, as a mass popular movement against religious fundamentalism brought a secular agenda to the forefront. But that was quickly followed by a backlash, as the parties of the religious right rallied their supporters. The popular protest movement and its aftermath, named after Shahbag, the section of Dhaka in which it was born, foreshadowed months of crisis marked by the execution of a war criminal, a spate of electoral violence, and last Sunday, a contested election.… Seguir leyendo »
Something spectacular happened in a small corner of the world on Tuesday. After two years of military-backed rule, a free, fair, incident-free election was held in Bangladesh, with decisive results: a record voter turnout routed the incumbent party in favour of a secular, progressive alliance.
"Two ladies" is the phrase commonly attached to the leaders of Bangladesh's main political parties: Khaleda Zia of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Sheikh Hasina of the Awami League - both women, one the widow of a former president, the other the daughter of Sheikh Mujib, leader of the independence movement and first prime minister of Bangladesh.… Seguir leyendo »
Por Antía Mato Bouzas, investigadora del Instituto Universitario General Gutiérrez Mellado (REAL INSTITUTO ELCANO, 16/11/06):
Tema: Bangladesh, a las puertas de los próximos comicios, vive en un clima de gran tensión política y violencia debido a las objeciones de la oposición liderada por la Liga Awami a la neutralidad del actual Gobierno interino y a la elaboración de las listas de votantes por parte de la Comisión Electoral.
Resumen: El texto aborda la actual situación política de Bangladesh ante la que debe ser su próxima convocatoria electoral, caracterizada por el traspaso de poderes del último Gobierno electo a un Gobierno interino.… Seguir leyendo »
By Jeremy Seabrook, the author of 'Freedom Unfinished: Fundamentalism and Popular Resistance in Bangladesh' (THE GUARDIAN, 07/11/06):
A country torn by a low-intensity cultural civil war has seen at least 25 people die in this conflict in the last 10 days; its capital city is strewn with overturned cycle rickshaws, rocks and broken glass. A tense and watchful calm has since returned to Dhaka, one of the fastest-growing cities in the world, although sporadic violence continues in some outlying districts.This is Bangladesh, the country of origin of about 300,000 British people, with the fourth-largest Muslim population in the world. The disturbances at the end of October followed the end of the five-year mandate of the Bangladesh National party and its religious-party allies, Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Oikya Jote.… Seguir leyendo »