TIB study: No active opposition party in Bangladeshi political scene

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The study used both quantitative and qualitative methods for collecting data

A recent study by the anti-graft watchdog Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has found that none of the opposition parties and their alliances walked out or boycotted the 11th parliamentary sessions. 

However, the organization thinks this finding shows that good democratic practices are absent in the parliamentary sessions. 

Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of TIB said it seems a good improvement that boycotting the parliamentary sessions and walking out from the session has come down to zero on the surface level. 

However, the data showed that there is not really an active opposition party in the Bangladeshi political scene. 

“I think right now the political approach is that if you have a headache, chop off your head. We do have an opposition party in the parliament but they are in alliance with the ruling party. There is no active opposition party in the political scene,” he said at a virtual press conference organized by TIB on Wednesday. 

The study findings on the 11th parliamentary sessions (1st to 5th sessions) were revealed at the virtual press conference.   

Quantitative and qualitative methods

The study used both quantitative and qualitative methods for collecting data.  Primary sources of data of this study include live broadcast of proceedings of 1st to 5th sessions of the 11th parliament by the state-owned national television channel ‘Sangsad TV’ (Parliament TV).

Secondary sources of information include proceedings of the sessions and committee reports published by the parliament secretariat, government gazettes, parliament website, newspapers, books and articles.

On the 8th parliament (1st-5th session), the main opposition party or their alliance boycotted 61% of the working days of the sessions. In the 9th parliament (1st-5th session), the main opposition party or their alliance boycotted 74% of the working days of the sessions. 

On the 10th and 11th parliament (1st-5th Sessions), none of the main opposition parties or their alliance boycotted any of the parliamentary sessions. 

As for walking out from the parliamentary sessions, the TIB study found that the main opposition party or their alliance walked out from the 8th parliament (1st-5th Session) 11 times, 21 times from the 9th parliament(1st-5th Session), and six times from the 10th parliament(1st-5th Session). 

However, none of the main opposition parties or their alliances walked out from the 11th parliamentary session. 

The study also found that among the parliamentary members, 61% are businesspeople, 13% are lawyers, and only 5% are politicians. The remaining 21% are other professionals including teachers, doctors, farmers, retired government and military officers, homemakers, and consultants.

On the 11th parliament sessions, 16 government bills (excluding budget bills) were passed. Six of these 16 bills were amended laws. 

The study shed lights on gendered perspective as well. The study found that around 46% of female MPs attended more than 75% of total session times in the reporting period, whereas 42% of the male MPs attended the sessions. 

While presenting the study findings, Morsheda Aktar, deputy program manager, Research and Policy, TIB said that in order to make the parliament more effective national parliamentary elections must be participatory, fair and neutral in the real sense.

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