Bangladesh Election Updates:

Bangladesh, India’s eastern neighbour, a Muslim-majority liberal nation of 170 million, heads to polls this Sunday. In the elections, boycotted by the main opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP), Sheikh Hasina – the world’s longest serving female prime minister, seems set to win a fourth consecutive five-year term.

Once described as a “basket case” by Kissinger, under Hasina, Bangladesh experienced rapid economic growth (except a downturn during Covid) and women empowerment, riding on its readymade garment (RMG) manufacturing (>35% of GDP & 80% of annual exports). Its per capita GDP is higher than India & Pakistan. Hasina cracked down on terrorism and has navigated external relationships with India and China with finesse.

The elections are getting international attention, including some sharp rhetoric from the US. It is being watched keenly in India – Bangladesh is strategic partner and a close ally (despite few irritants). A key element of India’s “Act East” policy, it is the gateway to and crucial for the security of north-eastern states. Hasina forged close ties with India since first coming to power in 1996. Her victory would be welcome in India, although the official line is: “domestic matter”.

India supported Bangladesh during “War of Independence” in 1971. It fears that return of BNP & Jamaat-e-Islami could embolden Islamists, as happened during 2001-06. Despite close ties between the two countries, there is suspicion among some Bangladeshis when it comes to India, says BBC.

External Factors Affecting Bangladesh Election Updates

Bangladesh Election updates also depend upon what has been happening recently. For three decades, Bangladesh politics has been dominated by rivalry between the two woman whose father & husband were assassinated in office. BNP & allies say they have no faith that Hasina will hold free & fair election. They want polls under a neutral caretaker government – a demand she rejected.

Starting in late 2022, Bangladesh has witnessed opposition-led protests capitalising on economic difficulties. Hasina has been accused of suppressing opposition and dissent. Election-related deepfakes and disinformation (using cheap AI tools) are making headlines.

Shaikh Hasina’s re-election will signal political stability and policy continuity – religious pluralism, tough line on extremism, economic openness, export diversification, digital adaptation & foreign investment. Awami League (AL) supports repatriation of Rohingyas.

AL and BNP’s foreign policy visions converge on geopolitical orientation and transnational issues – free trade, multilateral cooperation, rules-based international order & global institutions. Both feel they can best lead Bangladesh’s rise and present the other as an existential threat to the nation.

MitKat and datasurfr will keep providing you important intelligence updates and Bangladesh Election Updates from time to time. Read complete analysis on our LinkedIn here.

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