The Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh is a parliamentary democracy where the Prime Minister is the head of Government and, together with the cabinet of ministers, exercise the executive authority. Parliament, which has the legislative mandate, appoints a ceremonial president who is the head of state and acts as the Prime Minister’s appointing authority. The only time that the Bangladesh President exercises executive authority is under temporary incumbency. This form of governance has existed in its current form since independence.

Elections occur every five years and the legal voting age is eighteen years. The president has two terms of five years each but, interestingly, the Prime Minister has no political term limit. Though a democracy, the major opposition party boycotted the last elections and the other parties present are friendly to the regime, therefore, the country lacks a strong opposition such that technically, there is no opposition. Bangladesh institutionalized unique power handover whereby, when a government’s tenure comes to an end, members of the civil society take over power for three months and conduct the elections and thereafter hands over power to the new government. This system has been used since 1991.

The National Parliament is locally known as the House of the Nation, Jatiya Sangsad, Sangsad or JS. In Bangladesh, the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban refers to the parliament building and is in Sher-e-Bangla Nagar within the capital city, Dhaka. American architect Louis Kahn designed this modern monumental architectural building and its entire complex covering 200 acres. Construction started in 1961 and completed in 1982. The President lives and works in the Bangabhaban Palace (House of Bengal). Physically, this building is located along Bangabhaban Road in Dhaka and has a rich Islamic architecture. Construction of this 75,000-square-foot building was completed in 1905. The Prime Minister’s official residence is the Ganabhaban and is at the northern edge of the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban (at the intersection of Mirpur Road and Lake Road) in Sher-e-Bangla Nagor, Dhaka.

Although Bangladesh technically has a two-party system, it is said to be changing into a coalition system. The two main parties have historically been the Awami League and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018

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