The Chief Election Commission (CEC) announced on Thursday, November 8, that the country's 11th parliamentary elections will be held on Sunday, December 23. Candidates will have until November 22 to submit their applications. As of early November, it is unclear if the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) will take part in the upcoming elections.
The run-up to the vote is expected to be tense. Despite a request from opposition parties, the government announced it would refuse to appoint a neutral caretaker government to oversee the election. Opposition parties are anticipated to hold political rallies in the coming weeks. A heightened security presence and associated transportation disruptions are to be expected in the vicinity of any demonstration; clashes between security forces and protesters cannot be ruled out.
The run-up to the January 2014 elections was marred by political violence, making them the most violent elections the country had ever recorded. The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) boycotted the elections over unfair electoral conditions. In the run-up to the election, the ruling Awami League (AL) refused to appoint a caretaker government, sparking mass opposition protests, paralyzing strikes (hartals), and blockades. Some 600 people were reportedly killed in the political violence; at least 21 people died on voting day in attacks on polling stations.
Individuals present in Bangladesh are advised to avoid all public gatherings and demonstrations due to the risk of violence and adhere to any instructions issued by local authorities.