The electoral system in Bangladesh is a parliamentary democracy, after years of military rule, a parliamentary system, replaced by a presidential system, and then reversion to the present parliamentary democracy in 1991. The Bangladesh Election Commission (BEC) has established rules and regulations that govern the electoral system in Bangladesh. Three hundred members are elected to parliament according to the specific laws of single-member territorial constituencies (Bangladesh, 2003). General elections of parliament members occur within ninety days after terms expire. Only citizens of Bangladesh who are twenty-five years of age or older are eligible to run for parliament. The president is elected by the members of parliament. President hold a term of office of five years and regulations and rules for conducting elections are provided by the Presidential Elections Act, 1991 (Bangladesh, 2003).
After years of military rule and political and civil unrest, the elections in 2001 resulted in Iajuddin Ahmed being elected president and Khaleda ZiaÆs landslide victory as prime minister. Zia was the first female prime minister of Bangladesh and held office from 1991-1996. She is the leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party.
There are a number of political parties of significance in Bangladesh. These include: Awami League (AL); Bangladesh Communist Party (BCP); Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP); Islami Oikya Jote (IOJ); Jamaat-E-Islami (JI); Jatiya Party (JP) û Ershad Faction; Jatiya Party (JP) û Manzur Faction, (CIA, 2003). Prime Minister ZiaÆs landslide victory in the 2001 elections was a result of a four-party alliance led by her Bangladesh Nationalist Party. Three small parties formed an alliance with Prime Minister ZiaÆs BNP: Jamaat-E-Islami, Islami Oikya Jote, and Jatiya Party.
While the BNP-led coalition won an overwhelming majority of seats in parliament, the remaining parties also won seats: AL (62); JI (18...