[QODLink]
Central & South Asia

Bangladesh parliament elects new president

Parliament speaker Abdul Hamid, chosen in unopposed contest, will assume crucial position ahead of elections next year.

Last Modified: 22 Apr 2013 14:12
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Abdul Hamid was formerly speaker of parliament, as pictured second from right in this file picture [AFP]

Abdul Hamid, the speaker of Bangladesh's parliament, has been elected unopposed as president, officials have said, a potentially crucial role as the restive country heads for elections expected next year.

Hamid is a 69-year-old stalwart of the ruling Awami League party who has been serving as acting president after the death of his predecessor Zillur Rahman on March 20. 

"Abdul Hamid has won the election uncontested. The chief election commissioner declared him as the winner today [Monday]," said SM Asaduzzman, a director of the election commission.

The post of president, which is elected by parliament, fell vacant last month after Rahman died in a hospital in Singapore following a long illness at the age of 84.

Although the president's role has been largely ceremonial since 1991, when the country switched to a parliamentary system of government, the leader has immense power during the transition of government.

Known for his friendly ties with the opposition parties, Hamid could be thrust into the role of a mediator as the country's two major parties are on a collision course ahead of the next elections due by January 2014.

The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its smaller Islamist allies have threatened to boycott polls if they are not held under a neutral caretaker government.

The government of prime minister Sheikh Hasina has rejected the opposition demand, saying the polls will be held under the incumbent government.

218

Source:
AFP
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
UNHCR says hundreds of people trapped in Yaloke town risk death if they are not evacuated to safety urgently.
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Featured
Long-standing dispute over Christian use of the word 'Allah' raises concerns about a very un-Merry Christmas.
The threat posed by ISIL has prompted thousands of young Kurds to join the PKK.
Baja California - with its own grim history of disappeared people - finds a voice in the fight against violence.
Russian feminist rockers fight system holding 700,000 - the world's largest per capita prison population after the US.
Weeks of growing protests against Muslims continue in Dresden with 15,000 hitting the streets last Monday.