Civil Society Participation

Civil Society, democracy and election are closely interconnected. Civil societies play their role to build smooth democratic environment. It has been observed that the civil society played rational role in all the elections that took place in Bangladesh. Unfortunately, the parties in power could not utilize that support of the civil society to build up a democratically oriented civil society.

To achieve democratic consolidation in Bangladesh, it is important to discuss the combined effect of four major interacting factors that are essential for the development of democracy: political institutionalization, stable economic growth, formation of a democratic culture and a participatory civil society. It has also been identified that a participatory civil society has four main tasks to realize democratic consolidation. These are civic education on political and human rights, interest aggregation, monitoring of state apparatus and economic society, and ensuring better participation and representation of all segments of society in political decision making. However, such activities have been found to be performed at a far low rate than the CSOs’ ™involvement in service providing functions like education, economic empowerment etc. It is to be noted that compare to other service providing functions, raising political awareness has become a part of the grass-root projects of civil society organizations, particularly among NGOs as the donors have put emphasis on such activities ( The high rate of voters’™ turn out (over 70%) during the 1996, 2001 and 2008 elections due to such awareness programs of CSOs (Jahan:2008). In the result of such awareness, the high percentage of voters participation encourage by CSOs has made democratic environment in Bangladesh. But, it has been seen that in the various national elections, members of civil societies took a stance for or against the government. In Bangladesh, most of the civil society members belong to two major political parties in accordance with their political beliefs. Theoretically, members of civil society should not have such a belonging. They belong to political parties for their self- interest, that is to say, to get a better position in government when their desired party will win in the election.


Md. Sultan Mahmud and Bibi Morium, Civil Society and Political Party in Electoral Democracy: Bangladesh Perspective, Department of Government and Politics, Jahangirnagar University, Dec 27, 2013,

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