After a decade of democratic deepening, South Asia is experiencing a period of democratic backsliding. Incumbent governments are wielding a variety of tools—from populism to digital repression and violence—to further entrench their power. But democracy is as much about opposition as it is about government. A new Carnegie project on the politics of opposition in South Asia shines a spotlight on actors challenging the status quo from the outside—from political parties and civil society to social movements and armed actors. Unpacking opposition dynamics helps explain the consolidation of autocratic governance in the region, gauge the possibilities of democratic renewal, and understand the dynamics of armed conflict.
Bangladeshi opposition parties have failed to support the country's democratic consolidation since 1990. Explanations can be found from the colonial era to the present day.
As political parties turn to the 2024 general election, much of the opposition has found itself in a crisis that began long before the present era of BJP dominance.
Sri Lanka’s momentous protests toppled an unpopular leader and could be a sign of more change to come, though the path forward will not be easy.
Over the last few decades, Pakistan’s courts have carved themselves a political role in addition to their legal one. As the country’s opposition looks to its next moves, the courts may have a key role to play.
The 2013 Karachi Operation has engendered lasting instability in Pakistan’s largest city. Religious, military, and political groups vie for power over a multiethnic and divided populace as the threat of violence lingers.
The Pakistan Peoples Party plays a critical role in opposition politics in Pakistan but must balance opposition at the national level with the cause of autonomy within its home province of Sindh. Now, the party is fighting to leverage its oppositional leadership toward these two goals.
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