The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (Bengali: বাংলাদেশ জাতীয়তাবাদী দল Bangladesh Jatiotabadi Dôl), commonly referred to as the BNP, is the mainstream center-right political party in Bangladesh. BNP ruled Bangladesh for 14 years since its independence, longer than any other party in Bangladeshi history. It is the largest opposition party in the Jatiyo Sangshad, the Parliament of Bangladesh.
Founded in 1978 by Lieutenant General (retired) Ziaur Rahman, the Seventh President of Bangladesh. The BNP was established by President Zia to provide a political platform for him after his assumption of power during the coup and counter-coup of 1975. Ideologically, the party has professed Bangladeshi nationalism, and free market economic policies, including freedom of speech and press. The BNP is described as the Islamic consciousness of the Muslim majority in Bangladesh, in contrast to the secular Awami League. The BNP has been opposed to communism and socialism since its inception and advocates vigorous free market policies.
The BNP has held power in Bangladesh for five separate terms. Amongst its leaders, four have become President and two have become Prime Minister. Within the party, power has remained exclusively in the hands of the Zia family, with Begum Khaleda Zia leading the party since the assassination of Ziaur Rahman, her husband and the party's founder.
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