Bangladesh is a parliamentary democracy. Direct elections in which all citizens, aged 18 or over, can vote are held every five years for the unicameral parliament known as Jatiya Sangsad. The parliamentary building, the Jatiyo Sangsad Bhaban, was designed by world famous architect Louis Kahan. Currently, the parliament has 345 members including 45 reserved seats for women, elected from single-member constituencies. The Prime Minister, as the head of government, forms the cabinet and runs the day-to-day affairs of the state. While the Prime Minister is formally appointed by the President, he or she must be an MP who commands the confidence of the majority in parliament. The President is the head of state, elected by the parliament.
The Constitution of Bangladesh was drafted in 1972 and has undergone fourteen amendments. The highest judicial body is the Supreme Court. Judges are appointed by the President.
The present government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is committed to building a poverty and exploitation-free Bangladesh as envisioned by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. With this goal in mind, numerous programmes and reform measures have been initiated by the government since assumption of office in the areas of education, health, communication, information technology, e-governance, public administration, trade investment, public finance, women’s development and poverty alleviation. As pledged in the election manifesto of the Awami League, the government seeks to translate its Vision-2021 to transform the country into Digital Bangladesh and a middle-income country by 2021, when Bangladesh celebrates its 50th anniversary of independence.
Elections to the country’s 481 upazilas were held after a gap of over two decades on 22 January 2009 with the goal of decentralization of administration and bringing the administration under the control of elected representatives of the people. After the construction of Bangabandhu Bridge over the river Jamuna during its last tenure, the government has taken up another ambitious project to build a mega bridge over the river Padma (Ganges) in order to establish direct road link with the south-western part of the country.