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Voting in Bangladesh’s local elections to open

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Voting in Bangladesh’s local elections to open

Mohammad Ponir Hossain Reuters
Photo: Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters

The latest round of voting in Bangladesh’s local elections will begin today.

Bangladesh is divided into 4562 union councils—termed union parishads or simply Unions. After being postponed for pandemic-based safety reasons, today’s elections will see voters choose members and leadership for 161 unions in the country’s southwestern region.

These elections are seen as a showdown between Bangladesh’s ruling center-left Awami League (AL) and the center-right Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), the largest opposition party in Bangladeshi politics. Political tensions between the two major parties have come to a head in recent weeks as AL leadership called the BNP “evil” and vowed to prevent them from holding street demonstrations before the elections. Conversely, the BNP has refused to officially take part in these elections, instead having its candidates run as independents.

Given their dominant performance in the earlier rounds of voting, expect AL to win a vast majority of seats in the unions up for grabs today. Additionally, despite some reports of violence between AL and BNP candidates at earlier rounds of voting, expect today’s elections to run relatively without incident. With continued AL leadership all but assured, the stage is set for continued liberal reforms and sweeping electoral success in the 2023 general elections.

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