Bangladesh heading towards authoritarianism: Stratfor

StratfioerThe country’s declining international image triggered by recent extremist attacks will limit investment, affecting its 7.3 per cent growth target, forecasts a global intelligence company.

Strategic Forecast or Stratfor has also predicted two trends-descent into single-party authoritarianism and increasing insecurity brought about by extremist attacks-that will shape Bangladesh’s future.

“The ruling Awami League will continue to pursue legal charges against the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, pushing Bangladesh toward one-party, authoritarian rule,” Stratfor said in an analysis published on 31 May.

It attributed the extremist attacks to the “political strife” and said premier Hasina will blame the opposition for such attacks.

The global agency also forecast that “Hasina will use religion selectively to expand her support.”

Stratfor referred to Sheikh Hasina’s “political calculation” that if she can sustain a 6 per cent growth while creating jobs, reducing poverty and increasing health care access, then the electorate will overlook single-party rule and reward the AL during the next general elections.

However, the analysis pointed out, “Until Hasina can lower government deficits and debt accumulation, draw greater foreign direct investment and implement infrastructure development, economic growth will fall short of the administration’s 7.3 per cent growth target.”

“But since the BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami are being marginalized, their power to launch protests and nationwide strikes to dent the economy is restricted,” read the analysis.

It also pointed out that Hasina took advantage of the BNP’s boycott of the January 2014 elections, ensuring an Awami League victory, even though the election had the lowest voter turnout in the country’s history.

Stratfor added that Hasina’s government is pressing charges against various high-ranking BNP members as well as influential members of the media.

Source: Prothom Alo

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