Discipline, development and duress: the art of winning an election in Bangladesh

Mathilde Maitrot, David Jackman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (SciVal)


Bangladesh’s ruling Awami League Party has now won three consecutive general elections, an unprecedented achievement in the country’s political history. The 2014 and 2018 elections were, however, mired in controversy. Current analyses of the most recent of these center on the institutional and coercive tactics used by the Awami League to limit the political opposition. International media outlets have focused on allegations of vote rigging and intimidation. This article develops a deeper analysis of the Awami League victory, focusing on two city constituencies, both of which are traditional strongholds of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party. Based on research before and after the 2018 election, it shows that managing party discipline enabled a coherence in the election not achievable by the opposition. The Awami League has, furthermore, successfully built a narrative around development achievements in the country and its vision for the future, both of which have had genuine traction with the public. The 2018 election revealed three pillars of the Awami League’s success: discipline, development, and duress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)424-439
Number of pages16
JournalCritical Asian Studies
Issue number3
Early online date24 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2023


  • Bangladesh
  • South Asia
  • coercion
  • development
  • elections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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