Bangladesh’s main Opposition party having boycotted the election, Sheikh Hasina’s victory was a foregone conclusion. However, even in her hour of triumph, Ms. Hasina has eroded her political credibility somewhat by refusing to install a neutral caretaker government along the terms set by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia. The sad reality is that the country’s politics is much too dysfunctional today. That the Jamaat-e-Islami’s militant cadres were able to turn street protests into a reckless national campaign of violence indicates danger to the nation’s political freedom.
If the violence unleashed by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party in the run-up to the polls showed the country in bad light, it also emphasised the need for all parties to rise above petty political considerations and stand together for democracy. Ms. Hasina’s announcement of her intention to hold a mid-term poll if the BNP agreed to shun violence is heartening. It is time the BNP shed its intransigence and opted for peace.