Constitution of Bangladesh

Status: Republic

Elections organisation: Bangladesh Election Commission

Legislature: Jatiya Sangsad

Bangladesh is a republic with a non-executive President.

Under the Twelfth Constitutional Amendment (1991) there is a parliamentary system. The unicameral parliament (Jatiya Sangsad) comprises 300 directly elected members from geographical constituencies for five-year terms, plus 50 seats reserved for women nominated by political parties – based on their share of the elected seats – and then voted on by sitting lawmakers. The allocation of seats reserved for women was provided by the Fourteenth Constitutional Amendment (2004). One parliamentary candidate can stand in up to three constituencies. If a candidate wins in more than one constituency a by-election or by-elections are called. Parliament may sit no longer than five years.

Constitutional amendments require a two-thirds majority of parliament.

Executive power is with the Prime Minister, who heads a council of ministers (the cabinet), and whose advice is necessary for all presidential acts. The Head of State is the President who is elected by the national parliament for a five-year term. The presidency is a largely ceremonial role, although the President appoints members of the cabinet and the judiciary and has the power to dissolve parliament.

The Thirteenth Constitutional Amendment (1996) required a non-partisan caretaker administration to oversee the election process. However, following a Supreme Court judgment in May 2011 which had found it to be illegal, on 30 June 2011 the Jatiya Sangsad repealed the Thirteenth Amendment.

In November 2007 the caretaker government declared the independence of the judiciary from the executive, following a directive issued by the Supreme Court in December 1999
– in accordance with Article 22 of the Constitution of Bangladesh. Previous elected governments of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Awami League had effectively filibustered implementing the directive.