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Yearbook 1996

Bangladesh. For more than a year, the opposition had demanded re-election to Parliament, citing the ruling party's cheating in the 1994 general elections. The opposition boycotted the election and only about ten percent of the voters participated. The ruling Nationalist Party, Bangladesh Jatiyatabadi Dal, got the most seats, but the election was judged by both the opposition and foreign observers. The election campaign and the election day itself were characterized by violence.

1996 Bangladesh

The opposition's continued strikes and disobedience campaign crippled the country, and in March, Prime Minister Khaleda Zia was forced to allow Parliament to change the constitution so that the president could appoint an interim government. Khaleda resigned and an unpolitical ministry was appointed. Another new election was announced until June 12.

Three weeks before the election, the country seemed threatened by a military coup. According to, soldiers supporting a General Mohammad Nasim marched against Dhaka, but loyal troops protected the president and defeated the coup attempt. What intentions Nasim had never fully stated. It may have been a personal revenge as he was recently dismissed by the president for disciplinary reasons, but rumors of his association with either political camp quickly came into circulation.

The new election could then be carried out according to the plans in June and this time under quieter forms. The turnout was high, about 74%. The leading opposition party, the People's Union, Awami League, received almost half of the mandate and was able to form a government with the support of former military dictator Ershad's national party, Jatiya Dal. The general election in September gave the League of Nations its own majority. The new Prime Minister Hasina Wajed is the daughter of the nation's founder Mujibur Rahman. Through her election victory, the People's Union, which brought the country to independence, returned to office after 21 years.

In July, Supreme Court President Shahabuddin Ahmed was elected President. He was nominated by the League of Nations and had no counter-candidates.

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