Bangladesh on the brink: Opposition calls for general election boycott amidst political turmoil

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

Bangladesh‘s political landscape is teetering on the edge as the main opposition party, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), intensifies its calls for a boycott of the upcoming January 7 general election.

The stakes are high, with the BNP warning of a one-sided dummy election unless Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina steps down.

Struggling with key leaders either imprisoned or in exile, the BNP demands a neutral authority to replace the government and oversee the polls. Surprisingly, the BNP has chosen not to participate in the elections, heightening the tension surrounding the political showdown.

Prime Minister Hasina, vying for an unprecedented fourth consecutive term, remains defiant in the face of opposition pressure. She accuses the BNP of fuelling anti-government protests that have roiled Dhaka since late October, resulting in at least 10 fatalities.

Related news

Amidst this political turmoil, yesterday, December 19 witnessed four deaths as protesters set a train ablaze during a nationwide strike orchestrated by the opposition, reported Bangkok Post.

In a fiery online press briefing, Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, the BNP’s senior joint secretary-general, urged citizens to boycott the general election.

“Don’t participate in the monkey game on January 7. This is your democratic right.”

Rizvi didn’t stop there, calling on government employees, particularly those overseeing the election, to resign. He advocated for a complete halt in services, including banking and the judicial system, urging citizens to suspend all taxes, fees, utility bills, and other payables to the government.

In related news, highway police in Phatthalung intercepted three pickup trucks carrying 58 illegal Bangladesh immigrants. The migrants were being smuggled into Hat Yai to work. The drivers confessed to receiving 1,500 baht per person, a higher income than transporting goods or vegetables. Read more about this story HERE.

In other news, in September, seven Bangladeshi nationals, masquerading as Buddhist monks to bypass immigration scrutiny, were apprehended in the southern province of Songkhla, Thailand. The arrest was a collaborative operation between Songkhla immigration officers and Hat Yai tourist police, following an anonymous tip-off. Read more about this story HERE.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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