Bangladesh parliament elects new presiding officers


Dhaka : Bangladesh’s ninth Jatiya Sangsad or parliament had a formal start Sunday as it unanimousloy elected a lawyer and a former soldier as its presiding officers.

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Advocate Abdul Hamid is speaker and Col (retd) Shawkat Ali is deputy speaker for the house that has to transact massive lawmaking business, the UNB news agency reported.

Chief whip Abdus Shahid proposed Hamid’s name for the post of speaker, which was seconded by Segupta Yasmin.

The deputy speaker’s candidature was proposed by S.M. Firoz and seconded by Mojibul Huq.

There is likely to be a second deputy speaker from the opposition ranks as per a proposal made by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and accepted by her political rival, two-term prime minister Khaleda Zia.

But this did not figure in Sunday’s proceedings. Khaleda Zia has yet to name a lawmaker for the post.

Outgoing speaker Jamiruddin Sircar conducted the elections just after the maiden session got off to a formal start, the Star Online said.

This was the final call for Sircar who lost the Dec 29 election in which Hasina-led alliance swept to power, trouncing the one led by Zia.

Both the speaker and the deputy speaker were elected by voice vote since there were no other candidates for the two posts.

For Speaker Hamid this is the second tenure. He was elected to the post in 1997 after the death of Humayun Rashid Chowdhury.

Members of treasury and opposition benches greeted the new speaker and deputy speaker by thumping desks, marking a harmonious start of democratic functioning after the lapse of over two years under the emergency rule by a military-backed caretaker government.