June 1996 Bangladeshi general election

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June 1996 Bangladeshi general election

← 1996 June 12, 1996 (1996-06-12) 2001 →

All 300 seats in the Jatiya Sangsad
151 seats were needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
  Sheikh Hasina 2009 cropped 3by2.jpg Begum Zia Book-opening Ceremony, 1 Mar, 2010.jpg Hussain Muhammad Ershad.jpg
Leader Sheikh Hasina Khaleda Zia Hussain Muhammad Ershad
Party Awami League BNP Jatiya Party (E)
Leader since 1981 1984 1986
Leader's seat Gopalganj-3 Feni-1 Rangpur-3
Last election boycotted 300 seats, 100% boycotted
Seats won 146 116 32
Seat change Increase58 (from 1991 elections) Decrease184 (from Feb 1996 elections) Decrease3 (from 1991 elections)
Popular vote 15,882,792 14,255,986 6,954,981
Percentage 37.4% 33.6% 16.4%
Swing Increase7.3% (from 1991 elections) Decrease66.4% (from Feb 1996 elections) Increase4.5% (from 1991 elections)

Prime Minister before election

Khaleda Zia

Subsequent Prime Minister

Sheikh Hasina
Awami League

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The Seventh National Parliamentary Elections 1996 (Bengali: সপ্তম জাতীয় সংসদ নির্বাচন ১৯৯৬) were held in Bangladesh on 12 June 1996. The result was a victory for the Bangladesh Awami League, which won 146 of the 300 seats, beginning Sheikh Hasina's first-term as Prime Minister. Voter turnout was 75.6%, the highest to date.[1] This election was the second to be held in 1996, following controversial elections held in February a few months earlier.

Electoral system[edit]

In 1996, the 330 members of the Jatiya Sangsad consisted of 300 directly elected seats using first-past-the-post voting in single-member constituencies,[2] and an additional 30 seats reserved for women. The reserved seats are distributed based on the election results.[3] Each parliament sits for a five-year term.


The June 1996 election marked the second general election to be held within only a four-month period. Previously in February, a general election had been held which was boycotted by all major opposition parties. The opposition were demanding the installation of a neutral caretaker government to oversee the election, citing a 1994 by-election (which they alleged to have been rigged) as evidence of the BNP's inability to hold a free and fair election. Despite the boycott the February election went ahead and the incumbent Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's BNP was re-elected for the second term in a landslide victory, with the majority of seats uncontested. The voting was denounced as unfair by the three main opposition parties and the voter turnout was the lowest in Bangladesh's parliamentary electoral history at only 21%.

Following the election, President Abdur Rahman Biswas invited Zia to form a government, but this administration was short lived, lasting only 12 days.[4] A series of hartals (strikes) were called by the other parties and an indefinite non-cooperation movement was called until demands for a new, free election was met. On 25 March 1996, following escalating political turmoil, the sitting Parliament enacted the thirteenth constitutional amendment to allow a neutral caretaker government to assume power and conduct new parliamentary elections. On 30 March the President appointed former Chief Justice Muhammad Habibur Rahman as Chief Advisor (a position equivalent to prime minister) in the interim government. A new election was scheduled for 12 June 1996.

Notably during the election campaign there was an attempted coup d'état by the military.[5] On 12 May, President Biswas fired General Abu Saleh Mohammad Nasim, Chief of the Staff of the Army, due to his refusal to carry out a Presidential order to retire two of his generals who were alleged to be consorting with political parties in violation of military rules. Nasim revolted against the President and organised troops loyal to him. Consequently, President Biswas dismissed Nasim and appointed a new Chief of Staff. Troops loyal to the President were mobilised to protect Government institutions in the capital and Nasim was arrested by military police and the attempted coup d'état failed.

The elections were held on 12 June 1996.


The elections were won by the Bangladesh Awami League, who were just shy of a simple parliamentary majority, winning 146 (of the required 151 for a majority) seats. The election was close in terms of popular vote share between Awami League and BNP, with a difference of less than 4%. However, as a result of first-past-the-post voting, Awami League secured a 30-seat lead above BNP. The election saw a high voter turnout of ~74%.[6]

With the support of Jatiya Party,[7] the leader of Awami League, Sheikh Hasina, was invited to form a government on 23 June, beginning her first term as Prime Minister. The first sitting of the seventh parliament of Bangladesh was subsequently held on 14 July 1996.[4]

Percentage of the seats won

  Awami League (48.7%)
  Bangladesh Nationalist Party (38.7%)
  Jatiya Party (10.7%)
  Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh (1%)
  All other parties & Independents (1%)

Popular vote share

  Awami League (37.4%)
  Bangladesh Nationalist Party (33.6%)
  Jatiya Party (16.4%)
  Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh (8.6%)
  All other parties & Independents (4%)
Party Votes % Seats +/–
Bangladesh Awami League 15,882,792 37.4 146 New
Bangladesh Nationalist Party 14,255,986 33.6 116 –184
Jatiya Party 6,954,981 16.4 32 New
Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh 3,653,013 8.6 3 New
Islami Oikkya Jote 461,517 1.1 1 New
Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (Rab) 97,916 0.2 1 New
74 other parties 662,451 1.6 0 0
Independents 449,618 1.1 1 –9
Invalid/blank votes 462,302
Total 42,880,576 100 300 0
Source: Nohlen et al.[8]

Female representation[edit]

Of the 300 directly elected seats, only eight were won by female candidates.[9][6] An additional 30 seats were reserved in the Jatiya Sangsad for women, of which 27 were awarded to Awami League.[9][6]


Hasina's administration completed its full five-year term (the first parliamentary administration to ever do so[10]) and the next elections were held in October 2001.


  1. ^ Dieter Nohlen; Florian Grotz; Christof Hartmann (2001). Elections in Asia: A data handbook. Volume I. p. 525. ISBN 0-19-924958-X.
  2. ^ Electoral system IPU
  3. ^ Ahmed, Nizam; Hasan, Sadik (2018). "Alangkar or Ahangkar? Reserved-Seat Women Members in the Bangladesh Parliament". In Ahmed, Nizam (ed.). Women in Governing Institions in South Asia (PDF). Springer. p. 18. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-57475-2_2. ISBN 978-3-319-57474-5.
  4. ^ a b "Tenure of All Parliaments". web.archive.org. 2018-08-12. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  5. ^ Kochanek, Stanley A. (February 1997). "Bangladesh in 1996: The 25th Year of Independence". Asian Survey. 37 (2): 136–142. doi:10.2307/2645479. ISSN 0004-4687. JSTOR 2645479.
  6. ^ a b c "BANGLADESH: parliamentary elections Jatiya Sangsad, 1996". archive.ipu.org. Inter-Parliamentary Union. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  7. ^ "After steering Awami League to power, Sheikh Hasina now faces political, economic challenges". India Today. 15 July 1996.
  8. ^ "www.ecs.gov.bd" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-07-29. Retrieved 2012-12-13.
  9. ^ a b Kumar Panday, Pranab (1 September 2008). "Representation without Participation: Quotas for Women in Bangladesh". International Political Science Review. 29 (4): 489–512. doi:10.1177/0192512108095724.
  10. ^ "IPU PARLINE database: BANGLADESH (Jatiya Sangsad), Elections in 2001". archive.ipu.org. Retrieved 2018-12-27.