Four political parties so far applied to form an election alliance with the Bangladesh Awami League (AL) for the upcoming 12th national parliamentary election. The applicants are the Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JASD) led by Hasanul Haq Inu, Samyabadi Dal led by Dilip Barua, Jatiya Party (JP) led by Anwar Hossain Manju, and the Workers Party led by Rashed Khan Menon.
The four have formally submitted their alliance requests at the Agargaon election building in the capital on Saturday morning.
PM Hasina opens AL nomination paper sale
Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has inaugurated the sale of party nomination papers by buying her form as a candidate for the 12th Parliament election slated for January 7.
Sheikh Hasina kicks off the nomination paper selling at the party’s Bangabandhu Avenue central office in the capital at 10 am on Saturday (November 18).
AL advisory council member Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed collected the PM’s nomination paper on her behalf for the Gopalganj-3 constituency. Potential candidates can purchase and submit nomination papers online or directly from the office over the next four days (18-21 November).
Political parties will be able to submit nominations for candidacies till 30 November. The Election Commission will scrutinize the nomination submissions from 1-4 December. Appeals against the nominations can be submitted from 6-15 December and nominations need to be withdrawn by 17 December.
Political parties will be able to distribute symbols within 18 December and the election campaign will officially kick off on 18 December. The campaign duration will end at 8:00 am on 5 January.
Political Alliance in Bangladesh
Alliance in politics is not new in Bangladesh politics. A.K. Fazlul Huq, the leader of the Krishak Proja Party (KPP), notably established a coalition government with the Muslim League during his initial and subsequent terms in office (1937-43). It was the first coalition governance during the British era. The United Front in Pakistan emerged from this precedent, securing victory in the 1954 Provincial Assembly elections and subsequently forming a coalition government. In the aftermath of liberation, political alliances were not prominently visible among Bangladeshi political parties.
After 1990, Bangladeshi political parties increasingly embraced alliance politics. This trend has evolved into a continuous process in Bangladesh, wherein diverse political parties engage in value exchanges, providing smaller parties with opportunities to get a share in government. Consequently, political alliances have assumed a pivotal role in fostering democratization in Bangladesh.
While there are many political parties in Bangladesh, two dominant election alliances have emerged since the 1991 election, led by the Awami League (AL) and its arch-rival the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).
Following the election schedule announcement, 24 out of the 44 registered parties have declared to participate in the polls scheduled for 7 January 2024.
Some 38 registered political parties participated in the 2008 elections, but the number decreased in 2014. The 2018 elections witnessed an upswing in participation, with 39 registered parties competing for votes. Excluding the three major parties – Awami League, BNP, and Jatiya Party – all participants were smaller parties.
In the upcoming elections, newly established political entities are emerging on the scene. The Trinamool BNP, led by former BNP leaders Shamser Mubin Chowdhury and Taimur Alam Khondkar, Bangladesh Supreme Party (BSP) and Bangladesh Nationalist Movement (BNM) announced that they will contest in 300 seats.
Political Alliances can have major implications for election outcomes. In a political alliance, all participating parties rally behind a single candidate in a constituency. When voter preferences align with a political party, it consolidates support for the entire alliance, reducing the risk of votes being divided among allied parties. This consolidation increases the likelihood of an alliance candidate winning a constituency, especially when pitted against a candidate from a dominant opposing political party or a rival political alliance.