Profile: Awami League — major party of Bangladesh

By Xinhua,

Dhaka : As the 9th Parliamentary election of Bangladesh is being held on Monday, the two major parties — Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) led by former prime minister Khaleda Zia and Awami League led by former prime minister Sheikh Hasina are both hopeful of winning the election.

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Following is the profile of Awami League.

Awami League is a mainstream secular political party in Bangladesh. The party led Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan in 1971 under the charismatic leadership of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who was the first President of Bangladesh.

The Awami League is now being headed by Sheikh Hasina since 1984, the eldest daughter of Mujib.

Since the independence, the Awami League has been in government for two terms, covering approximately eight and a half year. Mujibur ruled the country for three and half years till Aug. 15, 1975 while her daughter Hasina as Prime Minister for five years from 1996 to 2001.

In the 2001 parliamentary election the Awami League won only 62out of 300 parliamentary seats. Nevertheless, it became the second-largest party in the parliament trailing behind BNP of immediate past Prime Minister Khaleda Zia.

Awami League is from “All Pakistan Awami Muslim League” which was formed in 1949. After independence, the league changed its name to Awami League and formed national government of Bangladesh in 1972 under Sheikh Mujibur.

Mujibur and most of his family members were assassinated on Aug.15, 1975. Only his two daughters Hasina and Rehana who were taking a visit in Germany at that time survived the tragedy.

In 1981, Sheikh Hasina was elected as president of Awami League and has led the party till now.

Awami League emerged as the largest opposition party in Parliament from 1991 to 1996. The party won the election in 1996 with Hasina as the prime minister who ruled the country from 1996 to 2001.

In July 2001, Awami League lost the election and became the biggest opposition in Parliament from 2001 to 2006.