Crisis of Confidence: A Critical Evaluation of the Role of Caretaker Administration in Elections Held Under Caretaker Governments in Bangladesh
One of the major uncertainties looming the political horizon of Bangladesh is whether the main opposition party is going to take part in the next general election due to be held in January 2007. The uncertainty stems from the party’s (and its allies) most recent demands calling for amendments to the constitutional provisions concerning the formation and operations of non-party caretaker governments (CGs) and a number of significant reforms in electoral laws including in the composition and functioning of the Election Commission (EC) and its rejection of the newly prepared voters’ list. At the heart of the demand for reform in the system of caretaker government (CG) is an accusation that the head of the CG designate is biased to the current ruling party. The ruling party has allegedly amended the constitution to ensure that the person of their choice becomes the head of the next CG. The suspicion primarily is based on the role of the last CG in handling the October 2001 elections. This paper examines the role of the three past heads of CGs and evaluates the quality of the three elections held so far since the system of CGs has been installed in the constitution. It also attempts to explain the outcome of the last elections using a number of contextual variables.
Keywords: Caretaker government, elections, parliament.
Dr Wares Karim
Senior Lecturer, School of Accounting, Victoria University of Wellington