Sheikh Hasina to be sworn in for a fifth term

AFP/RSS 11 Jan 2024
Sheikh Hasina to be sworn in for a fifth term

DHAKA:  Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will be sworn in for a fifth term on Thursday after a landslide victory in an election boycotted by the opposition.

Hasina’s ruling Awami League party won nearly three-quarters of elected seats in parliament, with allied parties and friendly independent candidates making up nearly all the remainder. The vote was criticized by the United States and the United Nations following a crackdown late last year that saw thousands of opposition party members arrested.

Cabinet Secretary Mahbub Hossain said Hasina and her ministers would take their oaths of office at 7:00 pm local time (1300 GMT). Around 15 ministers from the previous cabinet were dropped but most senior ministers retained their position, names circulated by the cabinet office showed. Career diplomat A K Abdul Momen was dropped as foreign minister after serving since 2019. Finance minister A H M Mustafa Kamal, who has been ill for much of the past five years, was also moved on, with another former foreign minister set to replace him.

Hasina is slated to retain the key defense and energy portfolios. She has presided over breakneck economic growth in Bangladesh — once beset by grinding poverty — but her government has been accused of rampant human rights abuses and a ruthless crackdown on dissent. Dozens of opposition parties boycotted Sunday’s election, which they described as a “sham” designed to entrench Hasina in power.

Turnout in the poll was a meager 41.8 percent, just over half the figure in the previous vote in 2018. Regional powers China and India nonetheless congratulated Hasina after her victory, vowing to continue cooperation with the South Asian nation of 170 million people. —

Published On: 11 Jan 2024


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