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Bangladesh - January 1, 2024

Voter turnout to be main factor in polls

Staff Correspondent: The election commission has identified some challenges of the upcoming 11 JS election including the voter turnout. Our field survey finds out that the voters have no interest in casting their vote as the main opposition party BNP is not participating in the polls.
A total of 11 national parliamentary elections have been held in the country since independence. Voter turnout has fluctuated since the beginning. The culture of boycotting the main opposition parties has been seen several times in the past. Analyzing the results, it can be seen that the highest number of votes were cast in the 9th National Assembly elections. Awami League formed the government. And the lowest turnout was in the Sixth National Assembly Election, the voter turnout was only 26.5 percent. After forming the government, BNP was in parliament for only four days.
On January 7,the 12th national parliament election is scheduled to be held. This time the main opposition party BNP is not in the election. A number of smaller parties also boycotted the vote. They are running all kinds of campaigns to prevent voters from going to the polls. Awami League wants to hold a fair vote keeping such a context in mind. The party feels that bringing voters to the center is a big challenge. For this reason, he is welcomed even if someone wants to be elected as an independent candidate from the party as well as the party candidate. Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal also visited various districts of the country to motivate voters. Other Commissioners are visiting the respective departments periodically. The goal is only one – to create trust among the people and mobilize the voters.
The past 11 elections have seen various changes and variations over time. With the increase in voter turnout in every election, the collateral of the candidates has also increased. In the beginning, starting with a bail of Tk 1000, now the bail of the candidates stands at Tk 25 thousand. Reserved seats for women have also been increased at various times. The culture of boycotting major parties is not new either.
First parliamentary election
The first post-independence parliamentary elections were held on March 7, 1973. The day was Wednesday. The number of participating teams was 14. The number of competing candidates was 1,091 people. Voters 3 crore 52 lakh 5 thousand 642 people. One crore 93 lakh 29 thousand 683 people exercised their right to vote. The total vote was 55 percent. In the first election, candidates’ security was Tk 1000.
Among the 14 participating parties, the Awami League single-handedly secured 292 seats out of 300 seats. There were 15 reserved seats for women. In this election, 11 members of the party were elected unopposed. Among the remaining parties, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal three, NAP (Bhasani) one, Bangladesh Jatiya League one and independent three candidates were elected as MPs. The prime minister of this parliament was Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Second parliamentary election
The second parliamentary election was held on February 28, 1979 (Sunday) under President Ziaur Rahman. 29 political parties participated in it. The number of candidates was 2,125. Total voters were 3 crore 83 lakh 63 thousand 858. 1 crore 96 lakh 76 thousand 124 exercised their right to vote. The total vote was 51.12 percent. Candidates security was Tk 2 thousand.
In the election, BNP alone won 220 out of 300 seats. With this 30 reserved seats including their increased 15 are added and the total seats stand at 250. In that election, the opposition party Bangladesh Awami League got 39 seats, Bangladesh Muslim League 12, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal Jasad 8, Islamic Democratic League 6, Awami League (Mizan) two, Jatiya League two, Gano Front two, Bangladesh Democratic Movement one, Bangladesh Samyabadi Dal, Jatiya Ekta Party and NAP (Mozaffar) got one seat each. Besides, five independent MPs were elected. The Prime Minister of this Parliament was Shah Azizur Rahman and the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament was Asaduzzaman Khan.
Third Parliament Election
This parliamentary election was held on May 7, 1986 (Wednesday) under President Hussain Muhammad Ershad. There were 1,527 candidates against 28 parties in this election. Out of 4 crore 78 lakh 76 thousand 979 voters, 2 crore 85 lakh 26 thousand 650 voted. The voting rate was 59.58. The security deposit was Tk 5 thousand.
Even though BNP boycotted the election, Jatiya Party won 183 seats and formed the government. Awami League was the opposition party. They got 76 seats. Among the remaining parties, Jamaat 10, Communist Party (CPB) 6, National Awami Party 5, Muslim League and Jasad (Rob) 4 each, Workers Party (Nazrul) and Jasad (Siraj) 3 each, NAP (Mozaffar) 2 and Independents 4, total 300.
The Prime Minister of this parliament was Mizanur Rahman Chowdhury and the leader of the opposition was the current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Fourth Parliament Election
The fourth parliamentary election was held on March 3, 1988 (Thursday) under President Ershad. A total of 977 candidates participated in this election under 8 parties. Many parties including Awami League-BNP did not participate in this election. Out of 4 crore 98 lakh 63 thousand 829 voters, 2 crore 58 lakh 32 thousand 858 voted. The vote was 54.93 percent. The security was Tk 5 thousand.
Jatiya Party also got 251 seats in this parliament. The rest of the seats were won by the Combined Opposition 19, Jasad (Siraj) 3, Freedom Party 2 and Independents 25. There were 30 reserved seats in this parliament. Prime Minister Barristers Maudood Ahmed and Qazi Zafar Ahmed and Leader of Opposition ASM Abdur Rab.
Fifth Parliament Election
The fifth parliamentary election was held on February 27, 1991. There were 2,787 candidates of 25 political parties in the election. Out of 6 crore 21 lakh 81 thousand 743 voters, 3 crore 44 lakh 77 thousand 803 exercised their right to vote. The voting rate is 55.45 percent. Candidates security was Tk 5 thousand.
Khaleda Zia was elected Prime Minister in this election and her party BNP got 140 seats, Awami League of the current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina got 88, Jatiya Party got 35, CPB and Bakshal got 5 each, NAP (Mozaffar), Jasad (Siraj), NDP, Islami Oikyajot, and Democratic Party one each, Jamaat 18 (reserved-two) and independent three.
Sixth parliamentary election
This election was held on February 15, 1996. There were 1,450 candidates from 42 participating parties. Out of 5 crore 67 lakh 2 thousand 412 voters, 1 crore 17 lakh 76 thousand 481 voted. The voter turnout was only 26.5 percent.
As many people including Awami League did not participate, there was no opposition party in this parliament. Parliament was only for four days. Among the participating parties, BNP got 278 (48 unopposed), Freedom Party one and Independents 10. The President of this Parliament was Abdur Rahman Biswas and Prime Minister was Khaleda Zia.
Seventh Parliament Election
The election was held on 12 June 1996. 81 political parties participated in the elections. 572 candidates. Out of 5 crore 67 lakh 2 thousand 412 voters, 4 crore 28 lakh 80 thousand 576 voted. The total vote was 74.96 percent. This election was held with the participation of all parties. The security was Tk 5 thousand.
After a long time in this election, Sheikh Hasina became the Prime Minister by forming a government with Awami League 146 (reserved-30) seats and coalition. Khaleda Zia became the leader of the opposition. Her party BNP won 116 seats in the election. Among the remaining seats, Jatiya Party got 32 seats, Jamaat three, Islami Oikyajot, Jasad (Rob) and independent candidates got one seat each.
Eighth Parliament
The election was held on October 1, 2001. 55 teams participated with 1,939 candidates. 7 crore 49 lakh 46 thousand 364 voters. 5 crore 61 lakh 85 thousand 707 people voted. The polling rate was 75.59 percent. Candidates’ security was Tk 10,000.
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia became the Prime Minister for the third term. In this election, his party got 193 seats (reserved-36), Awami League president Sheikh Hasina is in the opposition party. His party Awami League got 62 seats, Jamaat 17 (reserved-4), Jatiya Party (NF) four, Islami Oikyajot two (reserved-two), Jatiya Party (Islami Oikya Front) 14 (reserved-3), Jatiya Party (M) and Krishak Sramik Janata League one each and independent six.
Ninth National Parliament
Voting was held on 29 December 2008. After the first registration process started, 39 parties participated in the elections by fulfilling all the conditions with 1,567 candidates. Voters 8 crore 10 lakh 87 thousand 3 people. 7 crore 6 lakh 48 thousand 485 people voted. The polling rate was 87.34 percent. The security of this election was Tk 10 thousand.
Awami League formed the government in the second term. Their seats were 230 (reserved-41), BNP 30 (reserved-5), Jatiya Party 27 (reserved-4), Jasad 3, Workers Party 2, Jamaat 2, BJP and Liberal Democratic Party one each and Four distinct. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and opposition leader Khaleda Zia in this parliament.
Tenth National Parliament
The 10th National Parliament election was held on January 5, 2014 amid the boycott of several parties including the BNP. 11 parties participated in this election. Sheikh Hasina became the prime minister for the second term in a one-sided election. Her party won a single majority in this election. Jatiya Party’s Roshan Ershad was elected as the Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament. The total number of voters in this election was 9 crore 19 lakh 65 thousand 167, of which 1 crore 73 lakh 92 thousand 887 voted in 147 constituencies. The total voting rate is 41 percent. 153 candidates won unopposed.
11th National Parliament
In 2018, the total voter turnout rate in the 11th National Parliament election was 80 percent. In the result of 298 seats, Awami League candidates won in 259 seats. The Grand Alliance led by them got 288 seats. Awami League formed the government for the third consecutive time in this absolute victory. Jatiya Oikya Front comprising BNP won only seven seats. The BNP rejected the results of the polls and demanded a fresh election, alleging rigging. In the last election, there were more than 104 million voters across the country. As such, the voter turnout of 80 percent was the second highest in history.

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