Saturday, October 20, 2007

Bangladesh Forecast by Economist Intelligence Unit

Here are some observations on Bangladesh made in EIU's October issue:

1. Emergency rule is expected to continue in the early part of the forecast period (2008-9)

2. The government hopes to hold a general election by late 2008, when work on the electoral register is due to be completed, but the disruption associated with the monsoon season (which runs from June to September) is likely to see the date of the poll pushed back to 2009.

3. The tenure of the president, Iajuddin Ahmed, has been extended for another five years (This is probably incorrect).

4. ...the caretaker government's actions are likely to have strengthened the resolve of the students, and until emergency rule is lifted street protests cannot be ruled out. The protests could grow significantly in size if other disaffected groups also decide to make vocal their growing dissatisfaction with the caretaker government.

5. Judging from the sentences meted out in recent months by specially created courts to members of their kleptocratic coteries, the two former prime ministers can expect long jail terms.

6. Western governments and donors, which through their silence appeared to give their tacit support to the change of administration in Bangladesh, are growing increasingly concerned about the rise in human rights abuse cases. Even so, diplomats say that the present regime is “the only game in town”. The military's secular stance and tough opposition to Islamist extremism still make it attractive to Western governments.

7. It is unclear how much longer the caretaker government will be able to keep the population quiet.

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