Democracy and Authoritarianism: Understanding Three Decades of Bangladesh Politics

Md. Masum Sikdar, Md. Mehedi Hasan Shohag


Bangladesh is at a crossroads in its march towards democratic order. Though it started its political journey with a parliamentary system after independence, it failed to sustain it; slowly but steadily the parliamentary government degenerated into an authoritarian system. Bangladesh has completed about forty-five years of independence and it has also completed about eighteen years of direct and indirect military rule dominated by the military. Actually, Bangladesh politics is a combination of democracy and authoritarianism. From the very beginning of its independence, the hopes and aspirations for parliamentary democracy of the majority Bangladeshi people were turned into authoritarian form of government. This study primarily focuses on the concept of democracy and authoritarianism. It scrutinizes the existence of democracy and authoritarianism in Bangladesh politics from the early period of its independence of the first three decades from December 16, 1971 to December 16, 2001.The main aim of this paper is to find out the existence of democracy and authoritarianism in different regimes in Bangladesh from 1972 to 1975 the era of populist authoritarianism, 1975 to 1981 and 1981 to 1991 the era of military dominated rule and from 1991 to 2001 the era of parliamentary democracy.

Keywords:Democracy, Authoritarianism, Parliamentary Democracy, BAKSAL, Military Interference, Constitutional Amendment, Caretaker Government, Power Politics, Politics of Exclusion

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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