Political Parties and Election in Democracy

Political Parties and Election in Democracy

Political parties are inevitable in a democratic system. A modern democratic government system is primarily the rule of a political party. A government formed through people's vote is a democratic government. Without political parties, it is not possible to form this democratic government. In this article, we will discuss what a political party is, relations between democracy and political party and elections and election commission, and so on.

By the end of this article we would be able to -

• explain the concept and characteristics of a political party.

• analyze the role of a political party in the development of democracy.

• describe the main political parties of Bangladesh.

• determine the relations between democracy and election.

• describe the structure, power and proceedings of Bangladesh election commission.

Political party

A political party is that part of a country's populace which is organized to resolve the national problems on the basis of an ideology or some principles or programs. The main goal of a political party is to run the country according to its principles and ideals and to implement election commitments. A political party works in the interests of every one irrespective of all religions, races, men, women, classes and professions. One of the characteristics of a democratic system is the presence of an ideology and program-based political parties. There are some countries in the world where political parties do not exist. For example, no party exists in Saudi Arabia. There all political decisions are taken by the King's family and its council. Again, in some places laws have been formulated to ban political parties. For example, in Uganda in the African continent, all political parties were banned by the government until 2005.

Characteristics of a political party

Organized group of people: A political party is an organized group of people based on some principles and ideals.

Gaining power: The main goal of a political party is to form a government by gaining power in a constitutional way.

Clearly defined ideals and programs: Every political party has an ideal and clearly defined program. From the point of ideals, a party may be religion-based or secular. On the other hand, a party may be different, considering the economic program. For example, Socialist party.

Institutional framework and leadership: Every political party has an institutional framework. The party branch extends from the centre to the local body. Besides, there are various committees in the central and local levels in each party. However, the party is run by the central leadership.

Election-related activities: Election plays a pivotal role in a modern political system and in a democratic or autocratic government system. The importance of election in a democratic government system is more than that in an autocratic government system.

During all these elections, the party and its workers carry out various activities like preparing for election, nominating candidates, drawing up the party program in an election, election campaign and collecting votes.

Role of a political party

Creating leadership: The head of the political party is the leader of the party. Just as the party has leadership in the central level, so there is leadership in the local level. It is not that those who are leaders at the local level can not be leaders in the central level in future. The Prime Minister of Bangladesh government is the leader of his/her party. The political party and the people work to create leaders.

Formation of government: The main function of a political party is to form a government. In a democratic system, the party that earns the majority in elections forms the government.

Creating public opinions: One of the functions of a political party is to create public opinions in favour of its ideals and programs. In creating this public opinion, a political party adopts programs like meetings, processions and mass contacts.

Political education: The responsibility of a political party is to create public awareness about matters related to its interest. During an election, political parties explain their party programs and criticize the programs of other parties. People come to know many matters related to the running of the state from the opinions, discussions etc. The common people thus become politically educated.

Constructive opposition: Among the political parties, the winning party in an election forms the government and the second majority party plays the role of the opposition in the parliament. If the government makes any mistake, then the main task of the opposition would be to point out the mistakes of the government through constructive criticism.

Establishment of social unity: In a society, there are people of different religions, races and classes. Their interest is different from each other. One of the roles of a political party is to bring together these different interests and convert them into a program. A political party seeks people's support to be elected to go to power. A party, after assuming power, adopts a policy to implement their program. Social unity depends on implementation of this policy.

Work: Prepare a list of the activities of a political party that create hope in the minds of the people.

👉 Learn About The main political parties of Bangladesh

Political Party in the development of democracy

Democracy means the presence of political parties. The importance of a political party in the success of democracy is unlimited. This is because public opinion is well-organized by a political party and it creates political awareness among the people.

A political Party teaches its members and leaders to get accustomed to democratic norms and practices. For example, party leaders and workers are given opportunity to give their opinions when taking a party decision and to be tolerant of others opinions. A political party launches a movement to set up a democratic government through the removal of a government that works against public interest. In 1990, the political parties of Bangladesh established democratic rule by removing the anti-people military government through unanimous opinions of all political parties. In a democratic system, power is transferred after a certain fixed term. Government is formed through a free and fair election in a democratic system. This election is not possible without the participation of political parties.

Work: Highlight the role of political parties in a democratic system.


Election is the method of selecting people's representatives. All citizens with voting rights select representatives from local to national levels. The process of selecting representatives is called election. Those who cast votes are called electors or voters. A number of voters collectively are called electorate. A credible election is one of the conditions of a democratic system. Besides, at times, elections are also held under martial law and authoritarian system. In a democratic system, the importance of election is very high. Through election, the voters elect a deserving candidate from a list of candidates. The party which gets maximum votes forms the government. The electorate works as a bridge between the government and the people. Elections in a democratic system compel the government to be answerable to the people.

Generally if a party, when elected, does not work properly for the people, then in the next election, the people do not elect that party any more. As this is true in a developed democratic country, so it is true too in case of under developed countries. In Britain, in the 2010 election, the people of that country removed the labour party from power and voted for the conservative party. Similarly in 2001 the people of Bangladesh put the BNP in power in place of Awarni League and in 2008 the Awami League was voted to power replacing the BNP. In this way, election works as a medium of communication between the people and the ruling class. Through election, the people continue its support for the ruling class for a specific duration. Since the independence of Bangladesh, in a span of 40 years from 1973 to 2014, elections were held 15 times. Among them there were 2 referendums, 3 presidential elections and 10 parliamentary elections. These elections play an important role in establishing democracy in the country.

Types of Elections

Elections are of two types . For Example, direct election and indirect election.

Direct election: When the people vote directly to elect representatives, it is called a direct election. For example, the members of Bangladesh parliament are elected by direct votes of the people.

Indirect election: People elect public representative or an electoral college through votes and when these public representatives elect the president or members of the reserved seats in parliament, it is called an indirect election. For instance, the president of Bangladesh is elected by the parliament members. Again, the president of the United States is elected by an electoral college.

Individual Task: Give some reasons why the electorate is important in a democratic system.

Voting methods

Voting method implies how a candidate is selected through voting. Presently, there are two methods of casting votes: (A) Open ballot method (B) secret ballot method.

In an open ballot method, the voters openly vote in favour of the person of their choice. Here, the voters openly say "yes" or raise their hands to show their support.

On the other hand, in the secret ballot method, the voters either put a tick mark or seal next to the name of the candidate of their choice. Currently, this system is universally recognized.

One Man, One Vote

Another important method in the election system is the 'one man, one vote, system. 'One man, one vote, is presently a universally accepted system. In this system, any number of candidates can compete for one seat. A voter can cast only one vote for the candidate of his choice. The competing candidate who gets the most votes is elected.

Work: Show the characteristics of the election system separately through a diagram.

Election Commission

An effective election system is a pre-condition to build a democratic institution. In other words, people's placing of trust on election. A good and neutral election system is the safeguard for democracy. The responsibility of holding this credible and neutral election lies in the hands of election commission.


The election commission is formed according to the Bangladesh constitution. It is a constitutionally formed institution. The election commission will be formed with one chief election commissioner and not more than four commissioners, totaling five persons. The president appoints them. The chief election commissioner presides over the meetings of the election commission. The tenure of the chief election commissioner and the other commissioners is five years from the date of their assuming responsibility. It is the duty of the government and other authorities to assist the election commission in its work. In addition to the directions given in the constitution, the election commission is run according to the country's election rules.

The election commission has its own secretariat to carry out its work. The independence and neutrality of the election commission is very much necessary for holding a good and impartial election as well as for forming parliament with the elected representatives. The election commission is dependent on the government for its manpower and financial power. That is why in matters of manpower and finance, independence of the election commission is absolutely necessary.

Power and activities

The responsibility of the election commission is described in Article 119 of the constitution of the People's Republic of Bangladesh. The responsibility of the election commission is to hold the elections of the president and the parliament, prepare the voter list for election, provide identity cards to the voters, conduct other elections determined by law (this includes all local government councils like union council, municipality, city corporation, upazilla council, district council, Hill Tracts Council) as well as complete other relevant tasks effectively. Besides, it is the duty of the election commission to select the nomination papers of the candidates in the election, make policies related to parties and election related policies.

Further, an important task of the election commission is to demarcate the boundary of the constituency. For example- In the Bangladesh parliamentary elections, there are 300 constituencies. There the parliament members are elected through the direct votes of the people. A constituency is determined on the basis of its geographical size and number of voters. In addition to the geographical area based 300 seats, there are 50 more reserved seats in the Bangladesh parliament. These are fixed for women. They are indirectly elected by the 300 directly elected parliament members.

Work: The role of the election commission is key to holding a good and impartial election. Arrange debate on this topic.

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