Awami League, political organization in Pakistan and Bangladesh. It was founded in 1949 as an opposition party in Pakistan and had a moderately socialist ideology. The Awami [people's] League, with cofounder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as its leader from 1953, called in 1966 for a federation of East and West Pakistan, an arrangement that would have given much greater autonomy to East Pakistan. The party's candidates won a majority in the 1970 elections, but the central government in West Pakistan banned the League after war between East and West Pakistan erupted in early 1971. When Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) won its independence in late 1971, the party was the nation's dominant political force. In 1981 and again in 1991 it was defeated in a popular election by the Bangladesh National party (BNP), but the League won the 1996 parliamentary elections, and party leader Hasina Wazed, the daughter of Mujibur Rahman, became prime minister. The League lost the 2001 elections to the BNP in a landslide, but in 2008 the party was returned to power in a landslide and Sheikh Hasina again became (2009) prime minister.
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