Distinguished Professor and Thomas E. Eimermann Professor Ali Riaz recently published in the East Asia Forum on the growing authoritarian tendency of the Bangladeshi government and the ruling Awami League. The commentary, titled “Bangladesh’s Authoritarian Shift,” provides an assessment of the politics of the last year. Riaz contends that since the controversial election on December 30, 2018, the ruling party has established firm control over the state machinery and democratic space has further shrunk. Despite neutering the opposition parties, the popular discontent and periodic demonstrations on various issues have continued.

He further argues that the indecision of leadership and weak organizational capacity of the main opposition, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), has become more visible in recent months. The absence of formidable opposition, a lack of oversight of the parliament, and no accountability mechanisms accentuated rampant abuses of the power by the executive branch. Riaz said, unless the current unaccountable system of governance is reversed, the country will experience further slide towards authoritarianism. East Asia Forum is a platform for analysis and research on politics, economics, and law, published by the Australian National University.