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A Return to Democracy: Bangladesh Elections

On December 29, 2008, millions of Bangladeshis went to the polls to vote in the general election that signaled their country's peaceful return to democracy after two years of emergency rule and a history of political violence. Originally scheduled to be held on January 2007, the election was postponed due to conflict between the two largest political parties, Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Awami League.

Sanjeev Sherchan, Asia Society's assistant director for South and Central Asia Programs,traveled to Bangladesh as one of 60 election observer delegates deployed by the National Democratic Institute to ensure a free and fair election. In these photos, he documented election proceedings in the Jessore district, where voters streamed to the polls in record numbers.

Sherchan and other monitors across Bangladesh noted that unlike the last parliamentary election of 2001, there was little violence before and after voting. A strict code of conduct, revised voter lists, and effective monitoring all contributed to a free and fair election process. Grand Alliance, led by former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of the Awami League, won a landslide victory and captured about 230 of the parliament's 300 seats.

 

Produced by Stephanie Valera, Asia Society Online