Election in democratic system is the manifestation of the will of the people. It is said that people become the owner of the state for one day. That day is the day of the votes. However, in consideration of the dynamics of the present day politics, this theory of political science seems not to be completely. The votes of the people on the Election Day are now controlled by several X-Factors. Those who can take the charge over the X-Factors, the voting boxes are filled up in their favour. For example: Let`s talk about the October 2001 election. Within a few hours of taking the oath of the caretaker government ahead of the election, 13 important secretaries were transferred. Immediately the message was received in the administration, the caretaker government is not in favour of Awami League. Subsequently, all district commissioners and the Upazila Nirbahi Officers (UNOs0 took the position against the Awami League candidates. People started to believe that Awami League’s position is not good. Many did not go to cast their votes due to fear. The results of the 2001 election were known to all. Again, after the elections of 1996, `Janata Mancha (Forum by the Public)` ran the administration of the country practically. As a result, a message that Awami league is coming to power reached the people.
After reviewing Bangladesh`s elections since 1991, we have found out four X-Factors, which have controlled the elections. These X-Factors are:
One: Army. The role of the army is the biggest X-Factor in Bangladesh`s elections. Due to the role of the army, the one-sided election on January 22, 2007 was not possible to hold. Again, because of the latent support of the army, the notorious election on 15 February 1996 was held. The army is always considered important in Bangladesh’s politics. Until 2007, BNP thought that the army was their biggest strength. But Begum Zia was arrested along with her two sons during the one-eleven period by the army personnel. After that, Begum Zia was overthrown from the cantonment during the Awami League government. Since then BNP`s influence is not much in the army. Today`s army is much more professional. They are more interested about increasing their career and skills than engaging in political debates. However, the propaganda that was spread against Awami League within the army after 1975 no longer exists. The new generation cherishes the ideology of the Father of the Nation, and the spirit of the Liberation War. The role of the country’s most organized and trained force (army) greatly influences the results of the elections.
Two: The civil administration. The Election Commission conducts the election of the Jatiya Sangsad (National Parliament). But the Election Commission largely depends on the civil administration or bureaucrats for conducting the elections. The bureaucrats perform the role of the returning officers in the elections. District commissioners and UNOs are considered as a big factor at the field level of the elections. The civil administration has great power in influencing the elections. Visibly, the civil administration seems to be under Awami League’s control as it has been in power for the last ten years. But many pro-BNP and Jamaat officials are occupying important positions in the administration. It is almost impossible to identify them. Therefore, after the announcement of the election schedule, a part of the civil administration may not work in favour of Awami League.
Three: Law enforcement agencies. Law enforcement agencies play an important role in the elections of the third world countries like Bangladesh. Police and RAB are recognized as X-Factor for each election. Police can do a lot if they want to do so in a constituency. If the important leaders of a party get arrested, half of the election for that party gets over.
Four: India and international community. The fourth X-Factor of the election is India and the international community. India`s influence in Bangladesh’s elections since 2001 has been widely discussed in the political sphere. The US and the European Union control the media and civil society of the country. They can also put pressure on the political parties in an election.