Bangladesh in Focus: An ANFREL biweekly Election Update (27 November – 10 December 2023)

Between November 27 and December 10, the political landscape was marked by intense rivalries and controversies. The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) continued to declare a countrywide blockade and strike, demanding the cancellation of the election schedule and the resignation of the Awami League (AL)-led government. The AL faced criticism for controversial nominations and support for 'dummy and rebel candidates' to create the appearance of competition.1 Legal actions unfolded, with courts framing charges against BNP leaders, and human rights organisations like Human Rights Watch raised concerns over a crackdown on opposition parties.2

The AL and the 14-Party Alliance engaged in seat-sharing discussions, while opposition parties, including BNP, reached a consensus to boycott elections under the current government.3 BNP had also expelled members participating in the election. International entities, including the EU and the UN, engaged with Bangladesh on election monitoring.4 The EU emphasised democratic expectations, while the UN urged parties to ensure a harassment-free voting environment.5 The Election Commission faced criticism for varying interpretations of electoral laws.6 Amid diplomatic meetings and appeals for dialogue, concerns were raised about the inclusivity and fairness of the upcoming election.

BNP's continuous blockades, arrests, and legal actions, coupled with international scrutiny and internal party dynamics, created a complex and volatile political scenario. The Election Commission's role, foreign interventions, and the evolving narrative of human rights and democracy remained central to the unfolding events in Bangladesh.

  1. https://www.thedailystar.net/news/bangladesh/politics/news/tainted-yet-given-awami-league-ticket-3480601 ; https://www.newagebd.net/article/218850/al-encourages-dummies-rebels ↩︎
  2. https://www.newagebd.net/article/219016/20326-bnp-activists-arrested-73123-sued-since-oct-28-ainjibi-forum; https://www.newagebd.net/article/218782/bangladesh-arrest-thousands-in-violent-crackdown-alleges-hrw ↩︎
  3. https://www.thedailystar.net/news/bangladesh/elections/news/al-decide-seat-sharing-issue-dec-17-quader-3482676; https://www.newagebd.net/article/218946/opposition-for-resisting-unilateral-polls ↩︎
  4. https://www.newagebd.net/article/218871/bnp-expels-ekramuzzaman-abu-zafar-for-collecting-nomination-papers; https://www.newagebd.net/article/219068/bnp-expels-shahjahan-omar-for-serious-breach-of-party-discipline ↩︎
  5. https://www.thedailystar.net/news/bangladesh/elections/news/world-hopes-free-fair-polls-bangladesh-eu-envoy-3481901; https://www.newagebd.net/article/219111/un-not-to-send-election-observer ↩︎
  6. https://en.prothomalo.com/bangladesh/politics/m20s1izavs ↩︎

READ THE FULL BRIEFER HERE: "Bangladesh in Focus: An ANFREL Biweekly Election Update (27 November - 10 December 2023)"

ANFREL_Bangladesh-in-Focus_27-November-10-December-2023-2

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