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Bangladesh Nationalist Party

Bangladesh Nationalist Party
Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia
Founder Ziaur Rahman
Founded September 1978
Headquarters 28/1 Naya Paltan, Dhaka
Ideology Economic liberalism
Bangladeshi nationalism
National affiliation 20 Party Alliance
International affiliation None
Colors Blue
Election symbol
Politics of Bangladesh
Political parties

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (Bengali: বাংলাদেশ জাতীয়তাবাদী দল, transliterated: Bangladesh Jatiotabadi Dôl), often abbreviated as BNP, is one of the two the largest political parties of Bangladesh.

The BNP was founded as a centre-right liberal democratic party. It was established on September 1, 1978 during the regime of Ziaur Rahman. It has ruled Bangladesh for a total of 14 years and three terms since its birth (1978–1982, 1991–1996, 2001–2006). During the early 1990s, the BNP administration, with stalwarts such as Saifur Rahman, oversaw a landmark liberalization of the Bangladeshi economy, which set a precedent for economic reforms across South Asia.

The BNP has been led by Khaleda Zia since 1983, the widow of Ziaur Rahman. Her son Tarique Rahman emerged as an influential force within the party in 2001 and is currently serving as its Senior Vice-Chairperson. The student wing of the party is the Bangladesh Jatiotabadi Chatra Dal.


BNP was founded on 1 September 1978. President Ziaur Rahman had founded the party when he was elected as president. After his assassination, Abdus Sattar was elected as the president. Sattar was ousted from the party and Begum Khaleda Zia was elected as the chairperson of the party. Army General Hussain Muhammed Ershad declared martial law in the country. In the Bangladeshi General Election, 1991 the party had won 140 seats, only 11 short of a majority. Begum Khaleda Zia was sworn in as the first woman Prime MInister of Bangladesh. In the February election of 1996 Khaleda Zia became Prime minister for another term, winning 300 seats out of 300. Fresh elections were held in June and BNP had introduced the caretaker government system for neutral elections. In the election of 2001 BNP won 193 seats and came to power for the fourth time. Khaleda Zia had become Prime Minister for the third time. [1]

2001–2006 period

BNP won the general election in 2001 with a two-thirds majority of seats in parliament, and 46% of the vote (compared to the principal opposition party's 40%), returning to power for a third term.

Caretaker government (2006–2008)

A caretaker government was established following the end of Khaleda Zia's term and resignation of her government. Protests and violence began immediately after Khaleda's resignation, resulting in 40 deaths and hundreds injured in the first month. Following the Awami League's last minute withdrawal from elections scheduled for 22 January 2007, a bloodless military coup established a new government on January 11. President Iajuddin Ahmed (in office since 2002) declared a state of emergency before resigning as Chief Advisor; Fakhruddin Ahmed, a prominent banker, was appointed as CA.

The military-backed government promised to tackle the longstanding problems of corruption, filing charges against more than 160 politicians, civil servants and businessmen in 2007. Among those charged were Khaleda Zia and her two sons, as well as Sheikh Hasina, leader of the Awami League.[2] Some party members chose former finance minister Saifur Rahman as chairman, and former water resources minister Hafizuddin Ahmed as secretary general to lead the party. Khaleda Zia's supporters refused to recognize these choices.

The Bangladesh Election Commission invited Hafizuddin's faction, rather than Khaleda Zia's, to participate in talks, effectively recognizing the former as the legitimate BNP. Khaleda Zia challenged this in court, but her appeal was rejected on 10 April 2008.[2] After her release later that year, Zia was restored to her position as party leader.[3] There is speculation that the military government was trying to force both major leaders into exile in order to change the political system.

In the 2008 Bangladesh general election, the 4-party alliance led by BNP won 32 seats out of 299 constituencies, of which the BNP alone got 29.[4] The Awami League and its Grand Alliance had a two-thirds majority and formed a government.

5th National Council

After sanctions by the Election Commission, the party held country-wide events in order for local leaders to play an active role in the national party.[5] The BNP National Council empowered re-elected party chairperson Khaleda Zia to pick other members for the National Executive Committee and Standing Committee.[6] It elected her eldest son, Tarique Rahman, to the powerful post as Senior Vice-Chairman, in a "move apparently designed to smooth his path to the party helm."[6]

Current leadership

  • Chairperson: Khaleda Zia
  • Senior Vice Chairperson: Tareque Rahman
  • (Acting) Secretary General: Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir[7]
  • List of all Standing Committee (Last Updated: July 20, 2010) [1]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b "Bangladesh court rejects Zia appeal". Al Jazeera. April 10, 2008. 
  3. ^ "BNP top brass hails decision on Tarique". Daily Star. September 14, 2008. Retrieved 5 December 2012. 
  4. ^ "Bangladesh Election Won by Ex-Prime Minister Hasina". Bloomberg. December 29, 2008. [not in citation given] the results given in the source are preliminary and not final
  5. ^ Changes to Come Through the Council, The Daily News Today, Dhaka, 27 November 2009
  6. ^ a b "Tarique made powerful senior vice-chairman", The Daily Star
  7. ^ Suman, Rakib (31 March 2011). "Mirza acting, debate spreading within BNP". The Daily Star. Retrieved 21 April 2011. 

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