Gains in Democracy index

11 January, 2019 12:00 AM printer

After the recently held 11th parliamentary elections the opposition political parties as well as their political pundits were found writing the epitaph for democracy in Bangladesh. But in fact, as per international assessment, Bangladesh climbed four notches in global democracy index 2018.

There may be various allegations regarding the election held, but at the same time we must not overlook the fact that it was participatory and relatively peaceful than the previous general election.

The Democracy Index 2018 compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Bangladesh 88th among 167 independent states and two territories. This means we have a middle position in the list. In 2017 Bangladesh ranked 92nd. In other words, Bangladesh has moved up four slabs. What many of us would find further delightful is that we are way ahead of our former coloniser, exploiter and genocide perpetrator Pakistan (ranked 112). North Korea is placed at the bottom of the list and Somalia is not mentioned.

The countries were categorised into four groups – full democracy, flawed democracy, hybrid regimes and authoritarian regimes. Bangladesh is ranked as a “hybrid regime” that is slowly improving its position.

However, we cannot vouch for complete authenticity of the assessments although these will to a great extent coincide with the overall impression of many discerning observers. If we can rise by four notches in one year we can rise further given sustained efforts are made.

We think parliament should be made functional, the rule of law should be strengthened and extrajudicial killing should be completely stopped. Article 70 of the Constitution which tends to promote party dictatorship, robs an MP of freedom of belief and in effect subordinates parliament to the decision of a political party, should be done away with. Our efforts are beginning to bear fruit but periodic self-assessment is required.