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Bangladesh

Yearbook 2018

Bangladesh. The domestic policy in Bangladesh was characterized by the fact that 2018 was an election year. The December 30 election became a triumph for the ruling Awami League and its allies, which took home 288 of the 300 seats, according to preliminary figures. This meant a third consecutive term for Prime Minister Sheik Hasina. Election Day became troubled with at least 16 dead in various acts of violence, despite over 600,000 outlawed police and soldiers.

2018 Bangladesh

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had previously rejected demands from the opposition, including the main rival Bangladesh Nationalist Party (GDP) and its support parties, that a transitional government should lead the country before the election. A similar requirement was rejected in 2014. GDP boycotted the election. Transitional governments have appeared in previous elections.

The opposition claimed that electoral fraud occurred and that voters were threatened. Several opposition candidates also withdrew, but the Election Commission rejected the re-election requirements. The EU, the United States and the UN urged that whaling claims be investigated.

According to Countryaah.com, GDP leader Khaleda Zia's legal setbacks continued. In February, she was sentenced to five years in prison for embezzlement of the equivalent of $ 250,000 to a foundation for orphans. The verdict triggered protests. At the end of October, the sentence was sharpened to ten years. In another corruption case, she received seven years. The BNP was critical, claiming the judges were political when they stopped her candidacy.

Her son, Tarique Rahman, was sentenced in another trial to life for participating in a grenade attack in 2004 against a party meeting led by Sheikh Hasina, then opposition leader. More than 20 people were killed. Rahman, who lives in exile in London, has led the party in his mother's absence. Nineteen other co-accused were sentenced to death.

In October, GDP decided to form a broader alliance with several smaller secular parties in an attempt to challenge the Awami League. The alliance, the Jatiya Oikya Front, is led by Kamal Hossain, a lawyer and former Foreign Minister. The Election Commission later announced that Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami, with which BNP previously collaborated, must not stand.

During the ten years of Hasina's tenure in power, the economy has continued to grow and the proportion of poor has decreased while literacy has increased. Growth was around 7.9% for the financial year 2017-18, which ended last June. The World Bank urged the government to create more jobs through more private investment. Exports also need to be diversified. Teko products dominate. The country needs to continue to expand its infrastructure and electricity supply.

In September, the government announced that the statutory minimum wage in the textile industry would be raised by 51% in December following negotiations with factory owners and trade unions. The unions felt that this was insufficient. The factory owners were also doubtful. The last minimum wage was raised in 2013.

The pressure on individual organizations, the media and opposition persisted. A law was passed in September that gives the authorities the right to block information on the Internet that damages the country's unity, religious values or spreads hatred. Media houses and human rights groups felt that the law was intended to silence critical voices.

Authorities turned down student protests that broke out in July after two young students were killed in the capital, Dhaka. The protests were directed not only at road safety shortcomings but also against corruption and the government's rule. Award-winning photographer and activist Shahidul Alam was released on bail in November after 102 days in custody after speaking about the student protests in a TV interview. These statements were considered false by the authorities.

The elite police force RAB (Rapid Action Battalion) launched a contentious campaign against drug leagues in May. About 200 people were killed and more than 21,000 arrested.

Members of the UN Security Council, the UN chief, the UN refugee commissioner and the World Bank chief visited refugee camps around the city of Cox's Bazar, which houses over 700,000 refugees from Burma's Muslim minority, Rohingya, during the year. Bangladesh and Burma negotiated how the refugees would return and agreed on an agreement in October. But in November, the Dhaka government announced that the plan would be delayed and that no one should be sent back to Burma by force, a message that was welcomed by UN agencies and human rights groups.

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