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First-ever woman president likely

Published : 25 Jan 2023 01:35 AM | Updated : 25 Jan 2023 02:13 PM

Bangladesh is, in all probability, going to set an example as the country is going to have the first-ever woman President. 

If it really happens, Bangladesh will go one step ahead in the women empowerment as the Prime Minister of Bangladesh is a woman, the present Speaker of the Jatiya Sangsad  is a woman. Besides, the opposition leader in the Parliament is also a woman.   

According to sources, Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, also the country's first ever woman Speaker, is going to hold the post of the state’s President. She is going to be the 22nd president of Bangladesh.

The Election Commission has already fixed February 18 as the date for the Presidential election although earlier the EC officials had said that the presidential election would be held between January 23 and February 23. 

Sources said Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury might be the 22nd President of Bangladesh, although many names were the subject of speculation about who is going to replace President Abdul Hamid. 

Although, the name of Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury has not yet been disclosed at the Awami League’s party forum, a high-level source in the ruling Awami League almost confirmed that considering the personality, acceptability and her performance as the JS Speaker, the name of Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury is going to be proposed as the next President of Bangladesh by the ruling party.

Shirin, an MP from Rangpur-6, became the youngest Speaker of the House and has been serving since April 2013.

She started her career as a lawyer of the Supreme Court and also served as the state minister of women and children's affairs ministry.

As the next general election is going to be held in the first half of January next year, the Awami League believes that the person who would be the next president of the country must be capable of taking decision by his or her own on any issue and situation.

Though the post of the president is ceremonial, the president has to act as per the advice of the prime minister, except when appointing the premier and the chief justice -- it carries some significance during poll-time in issuing directives to help the Election Commission function effectively.

According to section 5 (2) of the Representation of the People's Order, 1972, all executive authorities of the government shall assist the EC in the performance of its functions, and for this purpose, the president may, after consultation with the commission, issue such directions as they may be deemed necessary.

It should be mentioned that an AL candidate will be elected as Hamid's successor, as the party holds the absolute majority in parliament, whose members elect the president.

Out of 350 parliamentary seats, the AL currently has 302, while main opposition Jatiya Party has 26. The Workers Party has four seats; Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh and Gono Forum have two each; Bangladesh Tarikat Federation and Jatiya Party (Manju) have a single seat each; and three remaining seats are occupied by independents.

There were seven MPs from the BNP, but they have recently resigned from the Sangsad. 

The tenure of Hamid, the longest serving president of the country, will expire on April 23, and according to the Constitution, there is no scope for his re-election.

Article 50 (2) of the Constitution reads that no person shall hold office as president for more than two terms, whether or not the terms are consecutive.

Hamid was appointed acting president of Bangladesh on March 14, 2013, while then president Zillur Rahman was in hospital in Singapore. Zillur died six days later.

Hamid was then elected unopposed as president on April 22, 2013, and was sworn into office two days later. On February 7,  2018, he was re-elected unopposed for a second term.

Meanwhile, another question is also on discussion about who is going to replace Speaker Shrin Sharmin Chaudhury  if Speaker Shrin Sharmin Chaudhury becomes the President of the state, the post of Jatiya Sangsad Speaker would become vacant. 

Sources said, the name of A H. N. Ashequr Rahman, a lawmaker of Awami League from Rangpur-5 constituency, is being considered as the replacement of Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury. 

Veteran lawmaker A H. N. Ashequr Rahman, who is serving as the treasurer of the ruling Awami League since last 35 years, is a former bureaucrat and expert in the Constitution.   

Besides, another lawmaker of Awami League from Moulvibazar-4, Abdus Shahid, who is a former Chief Whip of the ninth National Parliament, also remains under consideration as the next Speaker in the JS.      

The name of Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque, also a lawmaker from Gazipur-1 Constituency, is also on the discussion as the Speaker of the JS. 

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