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From Monopoly to Competition: Party Politics in the Bangladesh Parliament (1973-2001)

Nizam Ahmed
Pacific Affairs
Vol. 76, No. 1 (Spring, 2003), pp. 55-77
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40023989
Page Count: 23
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From Monopoly to Competition: Party Politics in the Bangladesh Parliament (1973-2001)
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Abstract

The Parliament of Bangladesh, the Jatiy a Sangsad (JS), which was monopolized by a 'single' party in the early years of independence, has become a competitive institution in recent years. This paper examines the significance of greater inter-party competition for parliamentary influence. In particular, it explores the ways the JS seeks to influence the process of legislation and to make the government behave. The paper concludes that party differences matter more in making the government behave than in the making of legislation. However, although the government domination of legislation has not changed much with changes in party competition, theJS has nevertheless a better scope now to affect legislative outcome, especially through amending legislation. Greater inter-party competition, however, has had some dysfunctional consequences; it has caused serious crises in parliamentary politics and paradoxically led to the decline of parliament. This paper has identified several structural and procedural constraints that have discouraged greater parliamentary assertiveness and suggested some measures for strengthening the JS by, among others, widening the scope for the opposition lawmakers and government backbenchers to play to a more proactive role.

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