Political tension is rising in Bangladesh ahead of the country’s next round of national elections, due by January 2024. The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) is boycotting elections to extract concessions from the government on election management; rampant inflation is increasing citizens’ daily struggles; and both the BNP and ruling Awami League (AL) are holding large rallies across the country to mobilize their supporters. Yet in this tumultuous political scenario, there is little publicly available polling to understand the state of race.
Bangladesh is increasingly recognized as an important player in Indo-Pacific competition, but its tumultuous domestic politics are now drawing attention with parliamentary elections due by January 2024. Economic crisis and opposition mobilization threaten to unseat the ruling Awami League (AL), which faces escalating American pressure to prove its democratic credentials after 15 years in power. The primary opposition party, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), is currently boycotting the next national contest until Bangladesh’s election administration is reformed. On the streets, violence is rising between and within parties while voter disillusion has grown amid years of political intransigence.
In August 2017, several hundred thousand Rohingya fled violence and persecution in Myanmar, seeking refuge in Cox’s Bazar in neighboring Bangladesh. In the years since, the Bangladeshi government has provided a safe haven for the refugees. Yet there are signs of increasing discontent in the Bangladeshi host community over insecurity, economic costs, and other negative effects of the refugee camps. As this report explains, addressing this potentially combustible situation will be vital to ensuring a sustainable humanitarian effort in Cox’s Bazar.