Bangladesh Election Predictions 2024: Will Sheikh Hasina win again?
2024 Bangladesh Election Predictions: The latest opinion poll predicts the return of Sheikh Hasina as Prime Minister of Bangladesh with a majority to form the government.
The tenure of the current Sangsad which is the 11th Sangsad will expire on January 29th, 2024. The Bangladesh Election Commission will have to hold the election before the term of the present government expires.
The Jatiya Sangsad is the supreme legislative body of Bangladesh consisting of 350 Parliamentary seats wherein 50 seats are reserved exclusively for women. The members are elected by direct polling from their respective constituencies or Nirbacani Elaka for a term of 5 years. In the House of 300 directly elected seats, 151 seats are required for a majority to form a government. If a single political party is unable to reach the magic number of 151, then it can seek the support of other coalition members. The Election Commission led by Habibul Awal will hold the General elections this time in 2024. The Awami League had formed the government in the 2018 General elections led by Sheikh Hasina. It is a part of the Grand Alliance comprising other member parties such as the Workers Party of Bangladesh, JaSad, Jatiya Party (Manju), Bangladesh Tarikat Federation, and Bangladesh Nationalist Front.
The 2024 Bangladeshi General Elections will be a test of the trust of the voters who have made Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the longest-serving Prime Minister of Bangladesh and the longest-serving female head of government in history until 2023. Will Sheikh Hasina be able to win a record 5th term?
Bangladeshi Election Predictions: Who will win the 2024 election in Bangladesh?
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Bangladesh Election Predictions 2024: Latest Opinion Poll
Bangladesh Economic Association
- Awami League:148-166
- Bangladesh National Party (BNP): 119-137
- Jamaat: 2
- LDP (Oli): 1
- JaPa (Ershad)
- BJP (Naziur): 1
Bangladesh Election Predictions 2024: Google Search
2024 Bangladeshi General Election Prediction 2024: Last 7 Days
- Awami League: 41% (44% in the last week of December 2018)
- Bangladesh National Party: 59%
- Sheikh Hasina: 80.0% (74% in 2018)
- Khaleda Zia: 20%
What we know from social media data is that Khaleda Zia is at -23% on Social Media sentiment while Sheikh Hasina is at -37%
2024 Bangladesh Election Predictions: Latest Developments
- Political Violence – The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) led a protest calling for a neutral caretaker government ahead of the general elections in 2024 to ensure free and fair polls and called for the resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The BNP Rally in Dhaka was joined by thousands of people which later turned out to be violent. The situation went out of control when groups led by the Awami League and the BNP clashed with each other. Protestors started throwing explosives, stones and bricks being thrown on the police, who had to fire rubber bullets and tear gas to bring the situation under control. Police, journalists, ambulances, hospitals and the houses of the Chief Justice were attacked.
- BNP leaders on the run – In the wake of BNP leaders being jailed, the grassroots BNP leaders and activists have been on the run or have been hiding. This has created a significant vacuum among the grassroots leadership who are struggling to implement each program of the 1-point movement in the absence of guidance from the senior leadership.
- Bangladesh Nationalist Movement – It is speculated that Hafizuddin Ahmed, a senior leader of BNP and has been the Vice-Chairman of the party for over a decade may leave BNP and lead the Bangladesh Nationalist Movement (BNM). He is a retired army officer who joined politics by being elected 6-time Member of Parliament from Bhola-3 (Lalmohan-Tajmuddin) constituency.
- Call for blockade by Jamaat-e-Islami – After the 48-hour blockade by the BNP, the Jamaat-e-Islami has also called for another 2-day nationwide blockade to press for their demand for the re-establishment of the caretaker government before elections and the release and withdrawal of all cases against the Chief of the party, Dr. Shafiqur Rahman and other activists.
2024 Bangladeshi General Elections: Major Public Issues
According to the National Survey of Bangladesh conducted between March-April, 2023, conducted by the Centre for Insights in Survey Research, the major public issues for Bangladeshi elections and the percentage of respondents voting for the issues are:-
- Corruption – 36%
- Inflation – 21%
- Unemployment – 9%
- Political Instability – 7%
- Economic Crisis – 7%
2024 Bangladeshi General Elections: Performance of Awami League-led government
Bangladeshis rate the performance of the Sheikh Hasina government in the following order of percentage:
- Development of roads, highways, and bridges – 87%
- Availability of Drinking water – 86%
- Availability of Electricity – 84%
- Improvement of Education – 81%
- Delivery of quality healthcare – 77%
This reveals that the government led by Sheikh Hasina has done quite well in the construction, and maintenance of roads, bridges, and highways, thereby developing connectivity across the nation. The figures also reveal that access to basic amenities was a priority of the government which has led to the improvement in access to drinking water, electric connection/power, education, and decent quality of healthcare. However, the majority of the people disapprove of the government’s performance in securing jobs for the youth, containing inflation, and arresting corruption respectively.
Approval Ratings of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
70% of Bangladeshis believe that Prime Minister Hasina is doing a good job because of the following:-
- Fulfillment of Basic Amenities – Over 80% of Bangladeshis express satisfaction with her performance in the development of roads, availability of drinking water, and electricity, and improvement in education and around 77% agree to a good quality healthcare made available by her.
- Strong Cult Personality – The ‘Personality’ factor plays a very important role in South Asian politics which follows the Westminster model of democracy, and Bangladesh is no exception. Besides being seen as the daughter of the father of the nation, Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, Hasina has pursued many developmental works which have earned her the image of the ‘face of development in Bangladesh’.
- Leadership from Front – Her ‘leading from front’ style of leadership to keep Bangladesh afloat during the COVID-19 crisis through massive free vaccination drives, and timely disbursal of various types of special allowances and financial incentives had earned her high national and international acclaim.
- Strong Voice – Moreover, she is considered a strong voice for the aspirations of the Global South, on international platforms and has led the stage on issues such as climate change, poverty reduction, sustainable development, human development, etc.
- Balance of Power – Her deft handling of diplomatic relations with regional power players such as India, and China and international players such as USA, Russia, and Japan have earned Bangladesh a place of strong recognition and strategic influence. No other leader besides her father, has earned a more prominent position on the global stage of power.
- Weak Opposition– The lack of a strong and powerful opposition face has also led to a high rise in her popularity. The opposition is embattled, convicted, and ill in the minds of the people and Bangladeshis see a powerful leader in Sheikh Hasina.
All these factors have led to the high approval ratings of Prime Minister Hasina who has been consistently ranked high in earlier ratings of 2017 and 2018 with 83% and 66% of approvals respectively. However, while the approvals may seem to be ironic only as much as 53% of Bangladeshis believe that the country is headed in the wrong direction even though the the Prime Minister enjoys 70% approval. An interesting fact of the survey reveals that those who believe that the country is headed in the wrong direction rate price rise and corruption as major reasons while no other factor besides these two, received a two-digit mention in the survey. This irony can be explained in the following ways:-
- Clear and strong Political Messaging – Prime Minister Hasina and her party have been very successful in framing political messages that would convince the voters that the ongoing economic issues and inflation are caused by external constraints, events over which the Bangladesh government has no control such as COVID-19 or the Ukraine-Russia conflict.
- Formidable Leadership Style – Creation of an evidently strong public perception that no other leader besides Sheikh Hasina who has been so skillful in navigating Bangladesh in the sea of the complicated domestic and global challenges.
Achievements of the Sheikh Hasina-led Government
- Constructed Padma Bridge without World Bank funding
- Inaugurated Dhaka metro rail,
- Constructed Kalshi flyover and others,
- Helped Bangladesh achieve self-sufficiency in food,
- elimination of electricity shortage,
- more than doubling of hospital beds in each district,
- additional dialysis beds of 10 beds in each district hospital,
- Inaugurated eight 1500-bed cancer kidney hospitals in 8 divisions,
- providing 30 types of medicines free of charge by running community clinics in remote areas,
- Led Bangladesh to achieve 5th place in the world in combating the Covid-19 pandemic,
- Provides 25% heart rings (rings) free of cost to patients being treated at the National Heart Institute
- Signed 30-year Ganges Water Sharing Treaty with India
- Signed Peace Accord on Chittagong Hill Tracts
- Constructed Bangabandhu Bridge
- Ensured Food security
- Allowances to over 4 lakh elderly people, and allowances for distressed women, widows, the disabled, and freedom fighters
- Social safety nets for the distressed, landless, deprived
- Shanti Nibas for elders
- Establishment of Ashrayan for the homeless
- One house-One farm scheme
- Power production capacity of 13,260 MW
- GDP growth over 6%
- 5 crore people were raised to Middle Class
- ICT service centres in all Union Parishads
- Forex reserves over $20 billion
- Distribution of agri-cards
- Opening of Bank Accounts with Tk 10 only for farmers
- Reduction of poverty level
- Adoption of Peace Model by a UN Resolution
- Raising per capita income
- Privatization of the telecommunications industry
- New Industrial Policy
- Ekti Bari Ekti Khamar scheme for household farming
- National Policy on Women Empowerment
2024 Bangladeshi General Election: Sheikh Hasina Vs Khaleda Zia
PM Hasina (Key Strengths)
- Carries the heroic legacy of the founding father, Sheikh Mujibur Rehman
- Courageous leader ready to face the raging storm with the spirit of the Bangladesh Liberation War
- Champion of Legal and Social Justice
- Intolerant to religious fanaticism and fundamentalism
- Symbol of development, national unity, and solidarity
- Strong Vision of Sonar Bangla
- Ensures Political Stability
- Mother of Empathy – due to her role in giving shelter to over a million Rohingya refugees
- Stubborn and strong leader clutching on to power
- Authoritarian and dictatorial nature
- considered nasty, uncouth, and unscrupulous
- Alleged of severe rigging in elections
- Allegedly conducts extortion and torture of university students
Khaleda Zia (Key Strengths)
- Entered politics carrying the sympathy of the assassinated and hugely popular President Ziaur Rahman, her husband
- First woman to serve as Prime Minister of Bangladesh
- Privatized industry and encouraged private investment
- Delivered masterpieces of speeches with considerable literary flare and fervor
- Improved the educational system of the country, promoted vocational training and free school education for women
- Symbol of beauty and elegance
- Strong personality
- A highly polished woman
- She became a synonym for a Bangladesh of honor, dignity, self-respect, and sovereignty
- Considered an uncompromising leader due to her staunch opposition against the military dictatorship of Ershad in the 1980s and her commitment to restoring democracy in Bangladesh
- Avoids confrontation with adversaries
- She is considered to support Islamic fundamentalism
- Sentenced to a total of 17 years in prison for the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case and Zia Charitable Trust corruption case in 2018
- Physically ill and suffering from chronic kidney conditions, decompensated liver diseases, unstable hemoglobin, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and other age-related complications
- Considered Anti-India
Whom do the minorities support in a Muslim-majority Bangladesh?
The Awami League supports the prosecution of Jamaat’s leaders for war crimes, its propagation of social reforms and women empowerment, and its dedication to secular ideals, thereby being the Hindu’s best bet to ensure their continued survival in the Muslim majority country.
Bangladeshi Hindus account for 7.95% of the population, which is around 13.1 million out of 169 million people. Home to the world’s third-highest Hindu population after India and Nepal. Exported nearly 4,000 metric tonnes of Hilsa fish, the biggest consignment ever of the delicacy for Durga Puja in Bengal. She welcomed the Hindus at her official residence, Gano Bhaban, and urged them not to undermine themselves as a minority. She also urged the Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council to lift the 48-hour hunger strike demanding the implementation of promises in Awami League’s election manifestos – demanding the establishment of a national commission for minority affairs, a minorities development and finance corporation, scrapping of highly discriminatory Enemy Property Act 1965 and its Bangladeshi versions which allow the state to seize the properties of those who leave Bangladesh.
Hasina administration has a proven record of coming down heavily on Islamic extremists attacking Hindus. Hindu confidence in the Awami League government is evident from the increase in the number of pandals in the country to 32, 408 this year. In Dhaka alone, there are 245 pandals and the Hindu community has expressed their satisfaction with security arrangements. All these factors have helped Hasina to gain the trust of the minorities in Bangladesh.
General Election Summary 2018
The 2014 General elections in Bangladesh saw Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League coming to power with a landslide victory of 234 seats even though 153 seats remained uncontested in the background of BNP led by Khaleda Zia boycotting the election considering it rigged and the results as farcical. Awami League had a vote share of 72.04% while Ershad-led Jatiya Party won only 34 seats.
The next elections were held in December 2018 where Awami League won by 257 seats, while Khalida Zia again boycotted the elections on the grounds of unfair elections, where rigging political violence and muscle power are said to be the reason for the victory of Awami League even though Sheikh Hasina rejected such allegations. The vote share of the Awami League was 74.63% this time, an increase from the last election by 2.5%.
2024 Bangladeshi General Elections: Conclusion
The 2024 General Elections of Bangladesh will be an election fought in the midst of the larger public opinion of preferring a caretaker government system prior to elections. Around 44% of Bangladeshis want a caretaker government for the time being, which indicates that their trust in the Awami League government is very low when it comes to conducting elections. many of them opined that they would only cast their vote this time if the elections were free and fair. Even public opinion states that the last elections of 2018 were rigged and one-sided.
Besides, the voters are also divided on their second opinion wherein 25% of them want a unity government system prior to elections where all parties are involved. Such a situation seems more of a political ideal rather than a reality. On the other hand, there are 25% of the voters who are fine with the Awami League overseeing the administration of elections. This suggests that while the traditional Awami League supporters want Hasina to oversee elections, the majority of the voters are not convinced of her political integrity.
While the Sheikh Hasina-led government enjoyed the approval of around 57% of Bangladeshis who rated the government high to have allowed a safe haven to Rohingya refugees, however, a deeper analysis proves otherwise. The voters like the leader may have been swept away by the hue and cry of the Rohingya refugees on humanitarian grounds, for which Sheikh Hasina also received international acclaim. Yet, almost 68% of Bangladeshis according to the survey, want Rohingya refugees to be sent back to Myanmar immediately. Only 26% believe that they should stay in Bangladesh until it is safe to return and very minute, only 5% of Bangladeshis prefer to stay in Bangladesh.
These two issues will remain significant besides all others mentioned above in the run-up to the general elections in 2024. Even though Sheikh Hasina has been earning praise in the international stage, she seems to have created a sense of discontent and anger among the electorate with her decisions. This is the protest space that the BNP has been trying to occupy and give room to the vent of the electorate by boycotting the elections.
Hence, this election will be the real test for the highly experienced Sheikh Hasina to manage the simmering public discontent and retain her image as the numero uno of Bangladeshi politics.