The people of Bangladesh go to the polls to elect a new parliament and a new government on December 30. The eleventh in the country’s parliamentary history, the polls have, unsurprisingly, generated intense speculation in the country and abroad.
From a historical perspective, Bangladeshis have always been proactive in struggling for democracy or political pluralism. The current campaign for elections needs to be seen against this background. The caveat here is that elections since the birth of the country in December 1971, have not been free of controversy. Charges of rigging, coupled with violence by activists of principal parties, have consistently undermined elections. Indeed, Bangladesh is a rare instance of a polity where general elections have, on a number of occasions, been supervised by caretaker administrations in charge between the end of a government’s term and the inauguration of another.