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Bangladesh: Democracy at a Crossroads

Recorded on September 28, 2007

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

Bangladesh is in the midst of a political transition that will have long-lasting implications for its strategic direction as a nation-state as well as stability of the region more generally. The military-backed interim government that took power on January 11, 2007, has pursued an aggressive anti-corruption campaign that was initially welcomed by the broader Bangladeshi population. With the recent jailing of the country's two major political leaders and postponement of elections until the end of 2008, however, there is growing skepticism about the Army's intentions and commitment to returning the country to full democracy. Will the current anti-corruption campaign mainly targeting the democratic political parties alter the political landscape in a way that brings religious parties - some with extremist agendas - to the fore? What impact will the anti-corruption campaign have on the economy and business investment in the country? What are the critical steps to ensuring free and fair elections at the earliest date possible? Join us for our discussion of these and other issues related to U.S.-Bangladesh relations.