Awami League’s sweep in election virtually strips Bangladeshi democracy of opposition

According to legal and parliament experts, a party needs to win at least 10% of the total seats to formally get the status of an opposition party; the BNP has rejected the elections results as 'farcical' and 'rigged' and demanded fresh polls

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Dhaka: Uncertainty prevailed over the opposition structure in the 300-member Bangladesh parliament as the BNP and its allies have won just seven seats, far less than the required number to become the formal Opposition party in the House.

According to legal and parliament experts, a party needs to win at least 10% of the total seats to formally get the status of an Opposition party.

Jailed ex-premier Khaleda Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) won five seats and its partners in the National Unity Front (NUF) got just two as compared to 288 seats of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League and its allies in the recently concluded general elections.
The BNP has rejected the elections results as “farcical and rigged” and demanded fresh polls under a non-partisan caretaker government. The party has also said its MPs-elect would not take oath as lawmakers on Thursday.

Former president HM Ershad’s Jatiya Party, which is part of the Grand Alliance led by Hasina, on Wednesday hinted that they could emerge as opposition in Parliament.

The Awami League got 258 seats while the Jatiya Party won 22 seats.
“We will take a decision tomorrow (Thursday) whether Jatiya Party will be with the government or emerge as the parliamentary opposition,” party secretary-general Moshiur Rahman Ranga told a news briefing after a three-hour-long meeting with the party leaders.

He added: “In terms of representation in Parliament after the election results, our position is second after the Awami League.” 

The Jatiya Party acted simultaneously as the main opposition and partner of the ruling alliance with induction of its several lawmakers in Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s cabinet after the 2014 elections, which the BNP had boycotted.

When asked about the party’s position about its lawmakers who are still in the Cabinet, Ranga said, “until now we are in the (Awami League-led) Grand Alliance”.
“We will soon decide about our stance,” he added