First of all, this paper explores the rationale for internal party democracy, highlighting the ‘school for democracy’ argument. Second, it identifies three crucial processes as determinants for the level of intra-party democracy; a democratic process for the election of leaders, for the formulation of policies and for coalition making. The first is emphasized. Third, the quality of intra-party democracy in Bangladesh is analysed in terms of party leadership selection and the prevalent practice of dynastic rule. The overall finding is that the degree of internal democracy of political parties in Bangladesh is weak, due to the electoral parties’ weak organizations, strong centralization and prevalent informal decision-making processes controlled by a limited number of party elites (dynastic parties). This general result has important implications regarding the prospects of democratizing party politics and consolidating democracy in Bangladesh.

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