Civil-military relations and democracy in Bangladesh

Wolf, Siegfried O.

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Abstract

Civilian control of the armed forces is a sine qua non for democracy. In Bangladesh, the military has played a crucial role during several authoritarian setbacks on its path to democratic consolidation. Civilian control is understood as the distribution of decisionmaking power between civilians and the armed forces.

This article sheds light on the successes and failures in the efforts of civilian governments to establish supremacy over the country’s armed forces in order to consolidate democratic rule. The analysis derives from a conceptualization of civilian control that distinguishes five areas of political decisionmaking: elite-recruitment, public policy, internal security, national defence, and internal security. In order to establish control in these various areas civilians have a choice between different strategies for which they need certain resources. In this context, the study shows that civil-military relations in Bangladesh have tended to be affected by historical legacies. Civilian polarisation as well as military factionalism and politicisation have not only hampered the institutionalization of civilian control but also led to the predominance of informality.

Document type: Working paper
Place of Publication: Heidelberg
Date: 2013
Version: Secondary publication
Date Deposited: 4 October 2013
Number of Pages: 46
Faculties / Institutes: Miscellaneous > Individual person
DDC-classification: Political science
Controlled Subjects: Bangladesch, Militär, Zivilgesellschaft, Demokratie
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bangladesch, Militär, Zivilgesellschaft, Demokratie / Bangladesh, civil-military relations, democracy
Subject (classification): Politics
Countries/Regions: Bangladesh
Series: Subjects > APSA Spotlight South Asia
Volume: Spec. Iss.