Providing due respect to the Opposition: VOA News

Interview by Steve Herman, South Asia Bureau Chief, Voice of America on Awami League’s landslide win in Election 2008

Full report here. Download audio here.

Melbourne University research fellow Syeed Ahamed
Melbourne University research fellow Syeed Ahamed

The Awami League, led by former prime minister Sheik Hasina, has gained a clear majority of the parliamentary seats in Bangladesh’s election. International observers are preliminarily deeming the election fair, which came after a two-year period of emergency rule by an army-backed caretaker government. There are high hopes there that the poverty-wracked country of 150 million people is putting its legacy of autocratic, corrupt and violent politics behind it.

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On young voters and political changes: ATN

Pre-election talkshow with Farah Kabir, Country Director, ActionAid and Faruk Wasif of Prothom Alo.

analysing past elections: running the numbers

[published in the Daily Star on 21 December 2008*]

Since the publication of our pieces analysing the polling centre level data from the last three elections in these pages on December 4, 7, 8, and 14, the irregularities discussed here have been reported in highly circulated Bangla dailies (see N. Morshed’s piece in Prothom Alo on December 15/16 for example). In this piece, we reiterate our reasons for publishing our results now, and make some specific recommendations for some key stakeholders. Read more of this post

analysing past elections: minority intimidation and electoral bigotry

[published in the Daily Star on 14 December 2008*]

MOST of us uncompromisingly show a conscious disgust against bigotry when it comes to foreigners — be it some racist acts of foreign cricketers or Barack Obama facing a negative campaign during the US election. When our expatriate friends and families tell us their experience of racial intimidation, we listen to them with utter shock and question: How can people be so bigoted? And then we have a content, self-serving feeling — at least we Bangalees are not bigots!

But, aren’t we? Is bigotry only about skin colour? What about religious, ethnic, gendered, class or regional discriminations? Read more of this post

analysing past elections: deprivation or abstention?

[published in the Daily Star on 8 December 2008*]

IN our last two pieces (published in these pages on Dec 4 and Dec 7), we focused on centres with incredibly high voter turnout. While the high turnouts point to irregularities, significantly low voter turnouts may also be problematic, particularly in the context of alleged deprivation of minority groups from casting their votes. This is the focus of the current piece. Read more of this post

analysing past elections: evidence of post-ballot count manipulation?

[published in the Daily Star on 7 December 2008*]

USING publicly available election data, we have been analysing the results of past three elections, with the first analysis already published on December 4.

Since the publication of that piece, we have been repeatedly asked two questions: why analyse the results of the past elections when they are part of history, and why has no one done this analysis until now when the data have been there for anyone to use? Read more of this post

analysing past elections: let’s look at the evidence

[published in the Daily Star on 4 December 2008*]

WHAT happens in an election? While details vary, all elections can be characterised by the following: a slate of candidates, or proposals, is put before the electorate for their choice, individual choices are tabulated, and a winner is decided.

Let’s make sure their wishes are registered. Photo- Arif/ Drik News

This is fundamentally a quantitative, data-driven, exercise. As such, one might expect a lot of quantitative analysis before the coming election. However, less than four weeks before the election, most of the analysis one sees in the public domain is qualitative and subjective. Read more of this post