January 8, 2014: Bangladesh’s January 5 parliamentary election dealt a serious blow to the country’s fragile democratic institutions. With major opposition parties boycotting the voting and violently pressing their demand that the polling be held as before under a caretaker administration, the ruling Awami League and its allies won a huge majority of the seats, over half of them without a contest. The United States and other concerned foreign governments and international organizations have criticized the way the elections were conducted and the violence that marred them. They have vowed to keep pushing for an agreement that will set the stage for more credible fresh elections.
Prospects for such a settlement in the near future are not promising. The reelected government and the opposition, led by bitter rivals renowned for their stubbornness, disdain for one another, and unwillingness to admit error, are likely to hang tough. They and their supporters will be more influenced by the impact the political situation and the violence that accompanies it have on the country’s key ready-made garment industry than by the admonitions of friendly and concerned foreign governments.Leave a reply