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Nizam Ahmed, "Parliamentary Opposition in Bangladesh: A Study of its Role in the Fifth Parliament," Party Politics, 3 (April 1997), 147-168.

First Paragraph:
One of the (three) great milestones in the development of democratic institutions is the right of an organized opposition to appeal for votes against the government in elections and in parliament (Dahl, 1966: xi). (Her Majesty's) Opposition, as Lowell observes, embodies the greatest contribution of the 19th century to the art of government (Wheare, 1968: 79). The quality of performance and leadership which the opposition provides has a major bearing on the quality of politics as a whole (Emy, 1978: 383). It publicizes the implications of policy, identifies the issues for debate and ensures that the government, when trying to fulfil its demands, does not take short cuts which undermine the basic 'rules of the system' (Emy, 1978, 383). The rules require that certain fundamental questions, such as the regime and the form of government, remain outside the party fight (Wheare, 1968: 80). These also require that while the government is to be allowed to get its programme through, the opposition must be given all reasonable opportunities for criticizing the programme (Richards, 1978: 59). Although the government and the opposition in western democracies often try to keep each other at arm's length, the two nevertheless mostly agree to abide by the general rules of the system.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1: Numerical strength of government and opposition in the JS.
Table 2: Background characteristics of MPs in the fifth JS (%).
Table 3: Experience in party politics (%).
Table 4: Political affiliation of MPs (%).
Table 5: Demand-type motions (except questions) discussed in the fifth JS.
Table 6: Promises extracted and implemented (%).

Last Paragraph:
On the whole, it can be observed that parliamentary democracy in Bangladesh worked in the context of widespread government-opposition suspicion towards one another's motives and intentions. Accusations and counter-accusations abounded, and both also distrusted each other to a great extent. Yet notwithstanding these defects, the opposition in the fifth JS played a more pronounced proactive role and also succeeded in providing some checks on the unbridled exercise of power by the government. The latter, despite its suspicion of the opposition's motive, was nevertheless more tolerant of its role, at least compared with the past. The sudden withdrawal of the opposition from the fifth JS could, however, be seen as a retrograde step, discouraging the growth of a stable pattern of parliamentary politics in Bangladesh.