Published 20th January, 2014
The Jatiya Party or National Party was established by Lieutenant General Hossain Mohammad Ershad as a political vehicle in January 1986 although it had been in the making since 1983. The party believes in National Unity, Faith in Islam, Nationalism and Democracy with Social progress.
General Ershad had seized power in March 1982 and ruled the country under martial law until December 1983.
In the May 1986 general election the Jatiya Party won 153 of the 300 seats in the Jatiyo Sangshad or National Parliament. Ershad subsequently resigned as Army Chief of Staff and the following month was elected President with 83.6% of the vote in an election that was boycotted by all opposition parties.
In March 1988 the party won even more seats, 251 of the 300 parliamentary seats, but the opposition had boycotted the election and started a campaign of general strikes and demonstrations against the government.
The anti-government movement grew in strength and eventually Ershad was even ignored by the military and subsequently resigned in December 1990. The Jatiya Party continued under new leadership and in 1991 won 35 seats, but not before a splinter group, known as the Jatiya Party (Naziur) had split away under the leadership of former party Chairman Naziur Rahman Manju.
Along with other opposition parties the Jatiya Party boycotted the February 1996 general election but in the June they won 32 seats and joined a coalition government led by the Awami League (AL).
General Ershad was subsequently released from prison where he had been since 1991and in 1998 he led his faction away from the AL government and into an alliance with the BNP. The decision resulted in further splintering of the party into a new group called the Jatiya Party (Manju) led by Anwar Hossain Manju. However, Ershad abandoned the alliance in 2001 and his faction won just 14 seats in that general election; the Jatiya Party (Naziur) won four seats and joined the subsequent BNP led government.
In 2008 the Jatiya Party won 27 seats as part of the Awami League’s Grand Alliance and promptly joined the new government.
In 2014 the party won 34 seats and entered AL led government once more whilst the Jatiya Party (Manju) won one seat and went into opposition.