The impact of Islamist political parties in Muslim democracy: A systematic review and its implications for Bangladesh

Author: Arefa Sultana

Sultana, Arefa, 2021 The impact of Islamist political parties in Muslim democracy: A systematic review and its implications for Bangladesh , Flinders University, College of Business, Government and Law

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The aim of this study is to analyse the impact of the participation of Islamist parties on democracy in Bangladesh. This research project includes both a systematic review approach and a case study. The project begins with a systematic review of the empirical literature focusing on the participation of Islamist parties in Muslim majority countries and their impact on democracy. The use of a systematic review provides an opportunity to assess the research question using an explicit, accountable and rigorous research method that surveys the relevant literature in a more systematic and structured way. The databases used in this project are- East & South Asia Database, International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBSS), Political Science Database, Politics Collection, Religion Database, Social Science Database, Social Science Database, Sociology Collection, and Sociology Database. Subsequently, a case study is conducted to assess the reviews’ findings compare with the Bangladesh. Both primary and secondary data were collected in this section, using databases, such as Taylor and Francis Online, SAGE premium journal 2021, and Google scholar, among others. The relevant data from World Value Survey Wave 7 was also analysed to complement the review. The findings of this study demonstrate that the participation of Islamist parties in politics is compatible with democracy if they adopt secularism as one of their ideologies. The findings identify the tendency for changing voting behaviour patterns based socio-economic profile of the voters, and therefore help explaining the electoral strategies of Islamist parties to influence voting behaviour. The findings also analyse the impact of Islamist parties’ participation on democracy in Bangladesh. This project is limited because it follows the systematic review method where the studies are based on inclusion criteria. More precisely, there is a limited discussion of the research question in the South Asian perspective. Further explorative studies could be conducted to identify the interrelation of voting behaviour, electoral strategies of Islamist parties to influence voting behaviour and its impact on the particular form of South Asian Muslim democracy. Moreover, as the discussion on religion and politics is sensitive and argumentative, the findings of this project are not irrefutable. Also, peer-reviewed articles are considered from selected databases because of the time limitation. The research could be comprehensive if more databases are included in the systematic review. Collecting primary data directly from the voters by using surveys or interviews to identify the appeal of Islamist parties in Bangladesh democracy could provide more information. This study contributes to identifying ideological hegemony on voters' preference and how evolving voting behaviour leads Islamist parties to pursue various electoral strategies to meet changing voter aspirations. This research may also assist in understanding how Islamist parties' have adopted a positive attitude towards democracy as an electoral strategy which can influence the adoption of human rights, especially in Muslim-majority countries such as Bangladesh. Therefore, the political scientists may find interest in this study. Besides that, the post-positivist policy analyst may be interested in this study to examine how the specific value used by political parties during policy making can influence voter’s choice. Voters of the Muslim-majority countries may also be benefit from a greater understanding of the electoral strategies of Islamist parties and the corresponding impact on the country’s democracy.

Keywords: Religion, Islam, democracy, secularism, election, voting behaviour

Subject: Policy and Administration thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2021
School: College of Business, Government and Law
Supervisor: Dr Luis da Vinha