General elections were held in Bangladesh on 27 February 1991. The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) emerged as the largest party in parliament, winning 140 of the 300 directly-elected seats. The BNP formed a government with the support of the Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami, and on 20 March Khaleda Zia was sworn in for her first term as Prime Minister.
All 300 seats in the Jatiya Sangsad
151 seats needed for a majority
The elections were described to be free and fair by many international observers, and it played a major role in solidifying Bangladeshi democracy in aftermath of the anti-government protests in late 1980s. Voter turnout was 55.4%.
In 1990 a popular mass uprising led by future Prime Ministers Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina deposed the former Army Chief Hussain Muhammad Ershad from the Presidency in December. Ershad had assumed the Presidency in 1983 following a coup d'état in 1982.
The previous parliamentary elections had been held in 1988 and saw Ershad's Jatiya Party win 251 of the 300 seats. However, the elections had been boycotted by all major opposition parties and were described by one Western diplomat as "a mockery of an election". On 6 December 1990, the day of Ershad's resignation, parliament was dissolved and new elections were scheduled for 2 March 1991, but subsequently advanced to 27 February, with all major political parties participating.
The 330 members of the Jatiya Sangsad consisted of 300 directly elected seats using first-past-the-post voting in single-member constituencies, and an additional 30 seats reserved for women. The reserved seats are distributed based on the proportional vote share of the contesting parties. Each parliament sits for a five-year term.
The elections saw the BNP win 140 seats, 11 short of a parliamentary majority. The BNP's primary rivals, the Awami League, led by Sheikh Hasina, won only 88 seats. However, there was little difference between the two main parties in terms of the popular vote share, with BNP only receiving around 250,000 votes more than the Awami League.
|Bangladesh Nationalist Party||10,507,549||30.81||140||New|
|Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League||616,014||1.81||5||New|
|Communist Party of Bangladesh||407,515||1.19||5||New|
|Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (Rab)||269,451||0.79||0||New|
|Islami Oikya Jote||269,434||0.79||1||New|
|National Awami Party (Muzaffar)||259,978||0.76||1||New|
|Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (Inu)||171,011||0.50||0||New|
|National Democratic Party||121,918||0.36||1||New|
|Bangladesh Janata Dal||120,729||0.35||0||New|
|United Communist League of Bangladesh||110,517||0.32||0||New|
|Bangladesh Khilafat Andolan||93,049||0.27||0||0|
|Bangladesh Freedom Party||90,781||0.27||0||–2|
|Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (Siraj)||84,276||0.25||1||–2|
|Bangladesh Muslim League (Ainuddin)||66,565||0.20||0||New|
|Workers Party of Bangladesh||63,434||0.19||1||New|
|Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal (Khaliquzzaman)||34,868||0.10||0||New|
|Bangladesh Muslim League (Kader)||32,693||0.10||0||New|
|Janata Mukti Party||30,962||0.09||0||New|
|Jatiya Ganotantrik Party||24,761||0.07||0||New|
|Bangladesh Inquilab Party||24,310||0.07||0||New|
|Jatiya Oikkya Front||21,624||0.06||0||New|
|Jatiya Janata Party–Ganatantrik Oikkya Jote||20,568||0.06||0||New|
|Jomiyatay Wulamayya Islami Party||15,073||0.04||0||New|
|Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal (Mahbub)||13,413||0.04||0||New|
|Bangladesh Hindu League||11,941||0.04||0||New|
|Bangladesh Samyabadi Dal (Marxist-Leninist)||11,275||0.03||0||New|
|Bangladesh Muslim League (Matin)||11,073||0.03||0||New|
|National Awami Party (Bhashani)||9,129||0.03||0||New|
|Pragotishil Jatiyatabadi Dal||6,677||0.02||0||New|
|Sramik Krishak Samajbadi Dal||6,396||0.02||0||New|
|Jatiya Biplobi Front||3,671||0.01||0||New|
|Pragotishil Ganatantrik Sakt||3,598||0.01||0||New|
|Jatiya Janata Party (Ashraf)||3,187||0.01||0||New|
|Bangladesh Jatiya Tanti Dal||3,115||0.01||0||New|
|Bangladesh Muslim League (Yusuf)||2,757||0.01||0||New|
|Jatiya Jukta Front||2,668||0.01||0||New|
|Jatiya Janata Party (Asad)||1,570||0.00||0||New|
|Bangladesh National Congress||1,421||0.00||0||New|
|Jatiyatabadi Ganatantrik Chhashi Dal||1,317||0.00||0||New|
|Gano Azadi League (Samad)||1,314||0.00||0||New|
|Bangladesh Nezam-e-Islam Party||1,236||0.00||0||New|
|Islamic Samajtantrik Dal Bangladesh||1,039||0.00||0||New|
|Bangladesh Freedom League||1,034||0.00||0||New|
|Peoples Democratic Party||879||0.00||0||New|
|Bangladesh People's League (Goariobi Newaz)||742||0.00||0||New|
|Jatiya Mukti Dal||723||0.00||0||New|
|Bangladesh Jana Parishad||686||0.00||0||New|
|Muslim Peoples Party||515||0.00||0||New|
|Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Mukti Andolan||503||0.00||0||New|
|Bangladesh National Hindu Party||502||0.00||0||New|
|Jatiyatabadi Ganatantrik Dal||496||0.00||0||New|
|Humanitarian organization for the prevention of smoking and drug abuse (JIFSA)||453||0.00||0||New|
|Jatiya Tarun Sangha||417||0.00||0||New|
|Bangladesh Labour Party||318||0.00||0||New|
|Bangladesh Manobatabadi Dal||294||0.00||0||New|
|National Awami Party (Sadequr Rahman)||248||0.00||0||New|
|Bangladesh Khilafat Party||241||0.00||0||New|
|Bangladesh Islamic Biplobi Parishad||214||0.00||0||New|
|Bangladesh Islamic Front||202||0.00||0||New|
|Bangladesh Bekar Samaj||182||0.00||0||New|
|Bangladesh Adarsha Krishak Dal||154||0.00||0||New|
|Bangladesh Islamic Revolutionary Party||138||0.00||0||New|
|Bangladesh Bekar Party||39||0.00||0||New|
|Jatiya Sramajibi Party||28||0.00||0||New|
|National Awami Party (Nur Mohammad Kazi)||27||0.00||0||New|
|Bangladesh Jatiya People's Party||25||0.00||0||New|
|Source: Nohlen et al., Bangladesh Election Commission|
In September 1991 a constitutional referendum was held, which sought the transfer of executive powers from the President to the Prime Minister, making the presidency largely a ceremonial role. The vote was overwhelmingly in favour of the constitutional amendments and the country returned to being a parliamentary democracy in line with its founding constitution.
- "BANGLADESH: parliamentary elections Jatiya Sangsad, 1991". Inter-Parliamentary Union. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
- Dieter Nohlen; Florian Grotz; Christof Hartmann (2001). Elections in Asia: A data handbook. Vol. I. p. 537. ISBN 0-19-924958-X.
- Bangladesh Election Commission (1991). "Report on election activities: Jatiya Sangsad Elections, 1991 (in Bengali)" (PDF). Government Printing Press. Retrieved 29 May 2022.
- "WORLD: Ershad Resigns in Bangladesh". Los Angeles Times. 6 December 1990.
- "Bangladesh Leader in Military Regime Assumes Presidency". The New York Times. 12 December 1983.
- "Ruling Party Is Declared the Winner in Bangladesh". The New York Times. 6 March 1988.
- "Tenure of All Parliaments". Parliament of Bangladesh. 30 December 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
- Electoral system Inter-Parliamentary Union
- Nizam Ahmed and Sadik Hasan Alangkar or Ahangkar? Reserved-Seat Women Members in the Bangladesh Parliament Archived 2020-10-27 at the Wayback Machine
- Kumar Panday, Pranab (1 September 2008). "Representation without Participation: Quotas for Women in Bangladesh". International Political Science Review. 29 (4): 489–512. doi:10.1177/0192512108095724.