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Parliament and Citizens in Asia: The Bangladesh Case

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Abstract:

This paper explores key dimensions of the relationship between parliament and citizens in Bangladesh. It identifies the mechanisms of contact and their impact on encouraging dialogue between representatives and represented. In recent years, a greater need for interaction between MPs and electorate has developed due to several reasons, such as the change in the composition of the electorate, stiff competition between the two main parties and change in electoral behaviour. Recent efforts made to bring parliament within the public domain, among others, by telecasting/broadcasting live parliamentary proceedings, have also made greater MP–constituency linkage imperative. In general, MPs in Bangladesh now have to spend more time in addressing public grievances and/or promoting the interests of their electorate than in the past. Yet MPs are considered as less trustworthy than other professional groups, and the parliament as an institution does not enjoy as much support as one would expect. The paper explains the reasons accounting for this paradox. It ends with a brief comparison with other countries in the region.

Keywords: Bangladesh; boycott of parliament; constituency development fund; parliament visit cell; patron–client politics; petitions

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13572334.2012.706056

Affiliations: Department of Public Administration,University of Chittagong, Bangladesh

Publication date: December 1, 2012

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