Bangladesh held its parliamentary election on 5 January. The outgoing government was headed by Sheikh Hasina of the Bangladesh Awami League, which had a large majority in the outgoing legislature.
The election was boycotted by the main opposition party, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, and the alliance of parties that it led. The main reason for the boycott was the refusal of PM Hasina to step down prior to the election to allow a neutral caretaker government to take office. This had happened before the previous election in December 2008. However, there had also been violent and widespread protests across the country in the months previously. The opposition contested the legitimacy of the government. The election itself was marred by violence. The army was deployed to try to maintain control. However, polling centres were attacked across the country on election day.
Partly due to the opposition’s boycott, only 147 of the 300 seats in the parliament were contested at the election. According to BDNews24, the PM’s Awami League won 125 of the uncontested seats and 105 of the contested ones. The Jatiya Party, which broke from the Awami League last year, won 20 and 13 seats respectively. A number of other parties won the remainder.
PM Hasina met President Abdul Hamid yesterday evening and was asked to form a new government. President Hamid is also from the Awami League. The President of Bangladesh plays a role in cabinet formation, but in the context of this outcome the nomination of Sheikh Hasina was purely formal. She is expected to form a coalition government even though the Awami League has a large majority.