Sheikh Hasina becomes Bangladesh PM third time

    By IANS,

    Dhaka : Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina was Sunday sworn in as prime minister of Bangladesh for the third time along with a 48-member cabinet.

    President Abdul Hamid administered the oaths of office and secrecy to the 66-year-old Hasina and her new cabinet members at Bangabhaban, the office of the president, The Daily Star reported.

    The cabinet includes 29 ministers, 17 state ministers and two deputy ministers.

    Expressing gratitude, Hasina said the important factor for her was not being prime minister but to work for the people.

    “Sheikh Hasina does not bow down to any pressure. Be it national or international,” she said, referring to many countries denouncing the violence ahead of and during the elections in which at least 21 people were killed across the country.

    “We want everyone’s cooperation,” she said when asked if she will take help of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) led by former prime minister Khaleda Zia.

    The prime minister said the BNP has to sever its ties with the Jamaat-e-Islami before holding any talks with the government.

    This was the third time that Hasina took over as premier in the last two decades since Bangladesh returned to democracy from military rule.

    Among the new ministers, Anisul Haque will get law ministry, Mohammad Nasim health, Tofail Ahmed commerce, Amir Hussain Amu industries and Anwar Hossain Manju environment and forests.

    The president earlier invited Hasina to form the government. The Awami League party clinched a landslide victory in the Jan 5 parliamentary elections, which was boycotted by the opposition parties.

    Hasina insists that her victory in the polls was legitimate, despite the elections being boycotted by the opposition BNP and its allies.

    The 18-party opposition alliance, led by BNP, has since Wednesday called for a blockade of roads, rail and waterways in order to topple the government.

    Bangladesh’s 10th parliamentary elections were held for just 147 of 300 seats in 59 of 64 districts of the country, as 153 candidates were elected uncontested.

    According to results from the Election Commission, the Awami League won 232 seats, securing a three-fourths majority.

    Hasina first came to power in 1996 and then defeated Zia in the 2008 elections.