Knowledge for Progress

Participatory Democracy

Election manifesto is an integral part of election campaign of all the major political parties in Bangladesh. Traditionally, the parties come up with excellent promises and commitments in their manifestos before each parliamentary election. However, how many of these promises are in fact implemented after the election is subject to a lot of question marks. Perceptions of the citizens as reflected in the media regarding the realization of the commitments made in the manifestos are not very encouraging. In fact, the consistent tradition of not realizing the commitments of the election manifesto has resulted in a growing negligence among the citizens about the election manifesto. Moreover, there has been a clear lack of active monitoring of the status of implementation of the manifestos from the civil society or any other quarter outside the government or ruling political party. Thus, although a very important tool in the election campaign, the election manifesto so far has hardly been able to have any impact on formulation of national policies and their implementation.

While the entire nation is looking forward to a meaningful transition to democracy through the parliamentary election 2008, the major political parties have publicized their election manifestoes, and as usual the manifestos are full of hundreds of excellent promises. Perception prevails that since no real compulsion of realizing these promises is felt, there is no harm is making hundreds of those. But this tradition needs to change for a really effective transition toward meaningful democratic governance. This will not automatically happen unless there is strong and continued pressure from the citizens of the country.

Considering the reality of Bangladesh, Movement for Implementation of Election Manifesto (MIEM) or Nirbachoni Ishtehar Bastobayon Andolon initiated to make the ruling political party accountable for their promises and exercising a model of participatory democracy through continuous monitoring of their election manifesto.

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