Mujib dynasty retains control in Bangladesh

Author: Inge Amundsen, CMI

Across South Asia political dynasties are generally in decline. The Nehru–Gandhi dynasty of the Indian Congress Party and the Bhutto clan of the Pakistan People’s Party are both deteriorating. But against this trend, the ‘Mujib’ (or Sheikh–Wazed) dynasty in Bangladesh is thriving.

Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina addresses the United Nations General Assembly in the Manhattan borough of New York, United States, 21 September 2016 (Photo: Reuters/Eduardo Munoz).

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The two major political parties in Bangladesh are both run by a prominent political family, and their degrees of internal democracy are very weak. The parties’ poor organisational structures are partly to blame for this situation, as well as the presence of strong centralisation forces and informal decision-making mechanisms that are controlled by the parties’ dynastic leaders and a limited number of party elites.

Partly because of this lack of internal democracy in Bangladeshi political parties, and partly because the dynasty of the main opposition party is broken, democracy is decaying in Bangladesh.

The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has been subject to political pressure, court cases and incarceration. The BNP leader Khaleda Zia has had 36 cases brought against her, many of which are allegedly politically motivated. She is currently in jail for graft and corruption and will most likely remain there. Tarique Rahman, her …continue reading