Sheikh Hasina was on Thursday sworn in as the prime minister of Bangladesh for the fifth term, days after her Awami League won an overwhelming majority in the general elections boycotted by the main opposition BNP and its allies.
President Mohammad Shahabuddin administered the oath of office to 76-year-old Hasina at a ceremony joined by politicians, foreign diplomats, civil society figures and senior civil and military officials at Bangabhaban presidential palace here. She will serve as the 12th prime minister; her fourth consecutive term and fifth overall term.
Hasina, the daughter of Bangladesh’s founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, has been ruling the strategically located South Asian nation since 2009. She is among the world’s longest-serving female heads of government.
Following the prime minister, the new members of cabinet were sworn in by the president.
Hasina’s party won 223 seats in the 300-member Parliament.
Opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) of ex-prime minister Khaleda Zia boycotted the elections after their demand for a non-party caretaker government to conduct the January 7 polls was rejected.
Hasina formed her government for the straight fourth term. She has inducted 25 ministers and 11 state ministers in her Cabinet. “We have not got the (new) ministers and state ministers’ portfolios yet but it is expected to be announced later Thursday,” a cabinet division official told PTI.
Hasina has dropped some heavyweights like foreign minister AK Abdul Momen, finance minister AHM Mostafa Kamal, planning minister Abdul Mannan, agriculture minister Abdur Razzak and commerce minister Tipu Munshi from her new Cabinet.
Names of 13 junior ministers out of 18 state ministers in the outgoing government also did not appear in the new list and they included junior minister for foreign affairs Shahriar Alam.
The new council of ministers list named 14 new faces as full ministers and seven state ministers though some of them were elevated as cabinet ministers.
Samanta Lal Sen, a doctor specialized on burn wounds, emerged as a new face in the list of full ministers as a technocrat to the surprise of many as he was never known for political activism.
Simin Hossain Rimi, the daughter of the first prime minister of Bangladesh Tazuddin Ahmed, is among the new faces named on the state ministers list.
Bangladesh went to polls on Sunday, in which the ruling Awami League headed by Prime Minister Hasina won 223 seats; the Jatiya Party 11 seats; the Workers’ Party, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal and Bangladesh Kalyan Party one seat each; and independent candidates won 61 seats.
India, China and Russia congratulated Hasina after her victory. All Far Eastern and Middle Eastern countries including Japan and Saudi Arabia also welcomed the ruling Awami League’s reelection.
However, the Western nations, including the United States and the UK, which were insisting the Bangladesh election to be inclusive, and the United Nations expressed their reservations about the election.