Distinguished Professor Dr. Ali Riaz has published a book chapter titled “Bangladesh: In Pursuit of a One-party State?” in the Routledge Handbook of Autocratization in South Asia.

In this chapter, Riaz examines the question of whether Bangladesh is heading to become a one-party state. He argues that the country has been witnessing incremental democratic backsliding for years. This chapter describes this process of democratic backsliding in Bangladesh and the emergence of the hybrid regimeā€”a system that alloys authoritarianism and democracy. Riaz argues that along with the constitutional and legal measures, the ruling party has adopted ideational measures creating an environment that allows and legitimizes the undemocratic actions of the incumbent. These undemocratic steps have created a de facto one-party state, but whether a de jure one-party state is likely is an open question at this point because hybrid regimes are not immutable, its mutation to authoritarianism is far more likely. The handbook was edited by Sten Widmalm of Upsala University, Sweden. (The book is an open access book and can be downloaded). 

Riaz also published a commentary, titled “What are the Global Challenges to Democracy?” The commentary highlights three challenges to democracy in both consolidated and new democratic countries: polarization in society and politics leading to a division of “us versus them” mentality; abuse of social media to engender division, which has been facilitated by the social media giants like Facebook and Twitter; and executive aggrandizement.

Riaz notes that in the past decades, a clear pattern has emerged wherein the leaders use the pliant legislature to grab enormous power. Often these are done through constitutional changes by a legislature where the authoritarian leaders’ party has unbridled control. Despite these challenges and backsliding, Riaz underscores that the people’s confidence in democracy as an ideal is strong.