The Bangladeshi Parliament - the Jatiya Sangsad (or House of the Nation) - is a 350 member unicameral Parliament; 300 members are elected directly and 50 seats are reserved for women. Professor Nizam Ahmed, Professor of Public Administration at the University of Chittagong in Bangaldesh, has produced a briefing on the Parliament for the Political Studies Association’s Parliaments and Legislatures Specialist Group.
The Parliament predates the independence of the country in 1971. The Jatiya Sangsad briefing paper notes that its precursor, the Legislative Council of Bengal, was established during British colonial rule. Since independence, Bangladesh has experimented with different types of government – a multiparty parliamentary system patterned after the Westminster model (1971-74), a one-party presidential system (1975), and a multi-party presidential system (1978-82; 1986-1990). For eight years between 1975 and 1990, the country was under military rule before the multi-party parliamentary system was restored in 1991. Since then, Bangladesh has officially remained a parliamentary democracy. Ten parliaments have been elected over the last four decades (1973-2014), although only a few have been able to complete their five-year tenure.