Bangladesh: 'Fake Candidates' Alleged in Upcoming Election

Bangladesh: 'Fake Candidates' Alleged in Upcoming Election
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The Facts

  • The controversial Bangladesh national election scheduled for this Sunday now faces accusations that the ruling Awami League is fielding many fake candidates against itself to promote a false pretext that the vote is free and fair.

  • Besides allegedly coercing individuals into running fake campaigns, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government is allegedly using fake National ID cards and "buying nomination forms" in the name of leaders of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), the country's main opposition outfit, which has boycotted the election.

The Spin

Pro-establishment narrative

The result of Bangladesh's Jan. 7 election is obvious: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Awami League will unfortunately sweep. Legitimacy, though, will be hard to come by as shown by these concerning electoral tactics. The international community has taken note, too. The ruling party is largely to blame for this, having dismantled the "caretaker government" system the country had for years. The opposition BNP's boycott has also left the field wide open for the incumbent.

Establishment-critical narrative

Bangladesh has experienced a stable and economically buoyant period under Sheikh Hasina. Acrimony with neighboring India is at its lowest in decades. The opposition BNP is merely complaining because it is unable to influence and violate the country's secular atmosphere anymore. Western powers like the US unfairly see "democratic backsliding" in Bangladesh even as several opposition parties prepare to freely contest the upcoming election.

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