Government and Political Parties
Bangladesh is ruled by a multi-party parliament system or parliamentary democracy form of government. The President (currently Zillur Rahman) acts as head of state, whilst the Prime Minister (currently Sheikh Hasina) takes on the role of head of government and holds the real power. Bangladesh's government often receives much criticism and sometimes violent opposition by other political parties. This has been the situation no matter which political party in Bangladesh has been in power.
Presidential elections take place every five years. The prime minister is then appointed by the president. The prime minister then selects a cabinet, which the president will appoint. Parliament is made up of 300 elected members who operate for five years. An additional 30 seats are reserved in parliament for women MP's. Bangladesh's Supreme Court is the country's highest judiciary body. All judges, including the Chief Justices, are appointed by Bangladesh's president. The Constitution of Bangladesh from 1972 has been amended on thirteen occasions. Bangladesh's laws have a founding in the English common law. However family law is rooted in religious scripts and may vary from one community to the next.
There are about a hundred political parties in Bangladesh. The majority of these are minor parties. Five major political parties are active in Bangladesh. The party in power is the Bangladesh Nationalist Party or BNP. The BNP is more towards the conservative, right-of-center wing. Leading he opposition is the Awami League or AL. Beginning as a socialist group, the AL is now center-left. The Jatiyo Samajtantrik Dal represents the left and socialist parties. The extreme right includes the Jamaat e Islami party and the Islami Oikyo Jote party. These two groups promote Islam in public life. Created by General Ershad, the Jatiyo Party (JP) leans toward holds similar ideologies as the AL and BNP.