February 1996 Bangladeshi general election

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February 1996 Bangladeshi general election

← 1991 February 15, 1996 (1996-02-15) 1996 →

300 seats in the Jatiya Sangsad
151 seats were needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
  Begum Zia Book-opening Ceremony, 1 Mar, 2010.jpg Sheikh Hasina 2009 cropped 3by2.jpg Hussain Muhammad Ershad.jpg
Leader Khaleda Zia Sheikh Hasina Hussain Muhammad Ershad
Party BNP Awami League Jatiya Party (E)
Leader since 1984 1981 1986
Leader's seat Feni-1 did not contest did not contest
Last election 140 seats, 30.8% 88 seats, 30.1% 35 seats, 11.9%
Seats won 300 boycotted boycotted
Seat change Increase160 Decrease88 Decrease35
Percentage 100% 0% 0%
Swing Increase69.8% Decrease30.8% Decrease11.9%

Prime Minister before election

Khaleda Zia

Subsequent Prime Minister

Khaleda Zia

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The Sixth National Parliamentary Elections 1996 (Bengali: ষষ্ঠ জাতীয় সংসদ নির্বাচন ১৯৯৬) was held in Bangladesh on 15 February 1996. They were boycotted by most opposition parties, and saw voter turnout drop to just 21%.[1] The result was a victory for the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), which won 300 of the 300 elected seats.[1] This administration was short lived however, only lasting 12 days[2] before the installation of caretaker government and fresh elections held in June.


In March 1994, controversy over a parliamentary by-election, which the Bangladesh Awami League-led opposition claimed the BNP government had rigged, led to an indefinite boycott of Parliament by the entire opposition.[3] The opposition also began a program of repeated general strikes to press its demand that Khaleda Zia's government resign and that a caretaker government supervise a general election.[3] Efforts to mediate the dispute, under the auspices of the Commonwealth Secretariat, failed. After another attempt at a negotiated settlement failed narrowly in late December 1994, the opposition resigned en masse from Parliament. The opposition then continued a campaign of marches, demonstrations, and strikes in an effort to force the government to resign.[3] The opposition, including the Awami League's Sheikh Hasina, Jatiya Party and Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami pledged to boycott national elections scheduled for 15 February 1996.


Incumbent Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's BNP was re-elected for the second term after a landslide victory, but in voting boycotted and denounced as unfair by the three main opposition parties. The voter turnout was the lowest in Bangladesh's parliamentary electoral history at only 21%.[1] Following the election, the President invited Zia to form a government, but this administration was short lived, lasting only 12 days.[2]

Party Votes % Seats +/–
Bangladesh Nationalist Party 300 +160
Total 11,776,481 100 300 0
Source: Nohlen et al.


An immediate series of hartals (strikes) were called by the other parties and an indefinite non-cooperation movement was conducted until demands for a new, free election was met.[3] In March 1996, following escalating political turmoil, the sitting Parliament enacted the thirteenth Constitutional amendment installing a neutral caretaker government to assume power and conduct new parliamentary elections; former Chief Justice Muhammad Habibur Rahman was named Chief Advisor (a position equivalent to prime minister) in the interim government. Zia's administration lasted only 12 days.[2] New parliamentary elections were scheduled for June 1996.


  1. ^ a b c Dieter Nohlen, Florian Grotz & Christof Hartmann (2001) Elections in Asia: A data handbook, Volume I, p525 ISBN 0-19-924958-X
  2. ^ a b c "Tenure of All Parliaments". web.archive.org. 2018-08-12. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  3. ^ a b c d Islam, Syed Serajul (2001). "Elections and politics in post-Ershad era in Bangladesh" (PDF). Asian and African Studies. 10 (1): 160–173. Retrieved 30 December 2018.