Photo: UN Women / Flickr
Photo: UN Women / Flickr

Bangladesh elections explained

What you should know about the 2018 Bangladesh general elections.

Following weeks of uncertainty, elections in Bangladesh are finally scheduled to take place on 30 December 2018.  The polls in December will be the country's 11th parliamentary election and come at a time when the Bangladesh Awami League's (AL) government is facing criticism for its authoritarian moves, including the violent repression of student protestors, the attack on civil-society activists, such as the photojournalist Shahidul Alam, and a 'war on drugs' characterised by extrajudicial killings. The stakes are also high for the de facto opposition the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), which boycotted the 2014 polls and is looking to reenter the parliamentary fray after five years of absence.

Electoral process

Bangladesh's unicameral Parliament, also known as the Jatiya Sangsad, comprises of 350 seats. 300 of these MPs are elected from single-member constituencies for a five-year term through a first-past-the-post system. The 50 remaining seats, reserved for women, are populated by allocating to each party the number of seats in proportion to the number of MPs they managed to elect. Premiership is awarded to the party or alliance holding the majority in Parliament. The prime minister acts as the head of the government; Bangladesh's presidency is only a ceremonial one, elected by the Jatiya Sangsad.

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