Bangladesh will hold the fourth phase of nationwide local government elections today.
This phase of voting will see citizens from 840 union councils—the smallest rural administrative unit in Bangladesh’s political system, consisting of several villages each—heading to the polls. Voting has been conducted in phases since June 21. The ruling Awami League’s (AL) candidates have dominated thus far, winning over 50% of elected offices in each round.
The dominance of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s AL party will likely continue today. This makes them clear favourites to win the 2023 general elections. This electoral strength is only tempered by the looming retirement of Hasina, which will likely increase uncertainty as 2023 nears, given the lack of a successor.
Regardless, buoyed by the country’s 2026 graduation from least developed country to developing country status, expect Hasina to focus on social programs aimed at cutting poverty, but also appeal to businesses to help reduce the costs of living for the poor. Such actions likely aim to buffer the economy as Bangladesh transitions to developing country status, as the new status will result in less concessionary terms from aid donors and development banks—which could force cuts in government spending on social programs.
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John is a Senior Analyst with an interest in Indo-Pacific geopolitics. Master of International Relations (Australian National University) graduate with study focus on the Indo-Pacific. Qualified lawyer (University of Auckland, NZ) with experience in post-colonial Pacific & NZ legal systems.