Biased institutions usher Bangladesh’s ruling party to a third term

Jan 04, 2019

THE AWAMI LEAGUE is an impressive outfit. Founded in 1949, the party spearheaded the movement that won Bangladesh independence from Pakistan in 1971. It has ruled the country for 19 of the 47 years since then, including the past decade. On December 30th it won another five-year term, capturing along with smaller allies some 96% of the seats at play. That is more even than it and its allies won in 2014, when voter turnout shrivelled after their main rivals boycotted the polls, leaving the party unopposed in over half the seats.

But does nabbing 288 out of 299 seats mean the Awami League and its leader, Sheikh Hasina Wajed, are growing ever more popular? Alas, there is no way of knowing. In this latest vote the electoral playing-field was so tilted, the voting so deeply flawed and the counting so lacking in transparency that even many of the party’s supporters doubt the result.

That is a pity. In the judgment of...

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