Election Bangladesh 2024

On January 7, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was re-elected for a fourth consecutive five-year term. Hasina’s Awami League won 222 out of 300 parliamentary seats in a vote that the main opposition party, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, alleged was a sham. Independent candidates — many of them aligned with the Awami League — nabbed 61 seats. 

The BNP asked the ruling Awami League to allow a neutral authority to conduct the elections. That proposal was rebuffed, leading the BNP to boycott the election. Official estimates, thought to be inflated, put voter turnout for Sunday’s election at 40 per cent. Bangladesh’s last election in 2018, in which the BNP participated, boasted a turnout of around 80 per cent. 

Suvolaxmi Dutta Choudhury, APF Canada’s South Asia Program Manager, told Asia Watch that other Asia Pacific powers, such as the U.S. and China, were watching the election closely. “As the U.S. imposed visa restrictions on individuals believed to be ‘undermining’ democracy in Bangladesh, China and Russia accused Western powers of meddling in Dhaka’s internal affairs,” said Choudhury. “Somewhat paradoxically, both India and China appeared on the same side, rooting for Sheikh Hasina’s return,” added Choudhury, “as her government has developed close co-operation with both New Delhi and Beijing on economic, strategic, and security issues.” 

NEW INSIGHT: On Wednesday, Choudhury, along with APF Canada’s Suyesha Dutta, Deeplina Banerjee, Pia Silvia Rozario, Jamie Leung, and Enya Bouchard (APF Canada Young Professionals Fellow), published an Insight on the broader implications of Hasina’s re-election, the ominous economic headwinds facing Bangladesh, and the state of Canada-Bangladesh relations.