Small political parties have been making large efforts to form political alliances ahead of the coming election. But, according to statistics, political alliances formed may seem to strengthen the larger parties, but do not influence the number of votes in the election. Most times the political parties negotiate how electoral constituencies are divided up when forming an alliance. However, at the end, only a few political parties get election seats and most of the smaller parties draw in few votes.
An analysis of election results of more than 100 political parties who took part in 5 elections showed that only 16 such political parties have received over 100,000 votes in an election.
In 1991, 75 political parties took part in the 5th national election when one small political party contested in a single seat and received 25 votes.
A total of 38 political parties competed in the 9th national election after the registration of political parties became mandatory in 2008. One political party contested in a single seat and received 297 votes.
The lowest number of political parties taking part in elections during the last two decades was in the 10 Parliamentary Election on Jan 5, 2014. At least 5 among the 12 political parties who took part in that election got less than 10,000 votes total.
In a few cases, independent candidates, especially rebel factions of larger parties, get more votes than party candidates.
No unregistered political party can take part in the election now that registration is mandatory. But they can compete in the election if they are nominated by a registered party in their alliance as their own candidate.
Bigger parties reach out to small political parties to extend their alliance before elections, believe political analysts. They attempt to dazzle voters with the number of small political parties in the alliance irrespective of their registration or their leaders and activists.
10TH NATIONAL ELECTION
The BNP and its alliance boycotted the 10th national election in 2014 to demand of an election held under a non-partisan neutral government. A total of 12 parties of the ruling party Awami League and its alliance took part in the election.
The candidates were elected uncontested in153 constituencies as most of the political parties boycotted the election. Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, Workers Party and Bangladesh Tarikat Federation contested in the election under the Awami Leagues boat party symbol. Another alliance member Jatiya Party took part in the election separately after an extended debate.
The Awami League bagged 79.14 percent of the total vote in that election. The three other members of its alliance got small percentages of the vote. The Workers Party got 2.06 percent, JSD 1.75 percent and Tarikat Federation 0.3 percent. The Jatiya Party, which became the major opposition party as the BNP had boycotted the election, received 11.31 percent of the vote.
9TH NATIONAL ELECTION
At least 38 political parties took part in the 9th national election on Dec 29, 2008 at the end of two years of rule by the army-backed caretaker government.
The Jatiya Party led by former president Ershad formed a 14-party alliance as the BNP and Jammat-e-Islami formed a four-party alliance.
Registered parties Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, Workers Party and Bangladesh Tarikat Federation contested in the election under the Awami Leagues boat party symbol as part of the great alliance, but the Jatiya Party contested with their own symbol plough despite remaining in the alliance.
On the other hand, registered political parties in the BNP led alliance- BJP, Islami Oikya Jote, Jatiya Gonotantrik Party contested in the election with the BNPs paddy symbol. Another alliance member Jamaat-e-Islami contested under its own symbol of weighing scales.
Among the alliance members, the Awami League bagged 49 percent of the vote, JSD 0.6 percent, and Workers Party 0.3 percent. Jatiya Party got 7.0 percent of the vote.
The BNP got 33.2 percent of the vote, Islami Oikya Jote 0.1 percent and BJP got 0.1 percent vote. Another alliance member of them Jamaat-e-Islami got 4.6 percent vote.
19 REGISTERED PARTIES IN TWO MAJOR ALLIANCES
Among the 39 political parties registered with the Election Commission, 19 parties are members of the alliances led by the Awami League and BNP. The rest of the 20 parties do not belong to any alliance.
Members of the Awami League-led 14-party Grand Alliance are—Bangladesh Workers Party, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, Bangladesh National Awami Party, Bangladesh Samyabadi Dal, Gonotantri Party, Bangladesh Tarikat Federation, Jatiya Party- JP and Jatiya Party.
Jatiya Party led by Ershad has initiated another alliance, called the United National Alliance recently based on Islamic Values. However, none of the UNA alliance members are registered political parties.
Registered parties who are members of the BNP lead alliance are- Bangladesh Jatiya Party-BJP, Jatiya Gonotantrik Dal, Liberal Democratic Party, Bangladesh Kalyan Party, Khelafat Majlish, Jamiate Ulamaye Islam Bangladesh and Bangladesh Muslim League.
Bangladesh NAP, another registered political party, has recently left the BNP-led alliance.
Bikalpadhara led by B Chowdhury, JSD led by ASM Abdur Rab and Nagorik Oikya led by Manna formed a new alliance called Jukto Front in April last year. B Chowdhury became the chairman of the alliance and Manna the member secretary. Initially Abdul Kader Siddiquie had joined the alliance but he later leftt.
Gono Forum Chairman Kamal Hossain had launched a platform called Jatiya Oikya Prokriya with Mostafa Amin as its member secretary.
B Chowdhury and Kamal Hossain agreed to run a joint movement together based on some common demands for the coming election. But on Oct 13, a fresh alliance called Jatiya Oikya Front led by Kamal Hossain surfaced with the BNP as a member. This alliance has not been registered with the EC.
ALLIANCE ACKNOWLEDGMENT WITHIN 3 DAYS OF ELECTION SCHEDULE
The Election Commission has no issue on registered and unregistered political parties forming alliances together, but the registered parties should inform the EC if they use one common symbol, said EC Additional Secretary Mokhlesur Rahman.
The returning officer allocates the election symbols to the contestant, said EC Joint-Secretary Farhad Ahmed Khan. The EC will write to the political parties on alliances and election symbol allocation after the schedule is announced.
The parties have to apply to the commission with the chosen alliance symbol within three days of the announcement of election schedule. The head of the party whose symbol the alliance will use should be attached to the application to the EC.