Staff Correspondent : Sheikh Hasina was on Thursday sworn-in as the prime minister of Bangladesh for the fourth consecutive term – the fifth overall – after she led her Awami League party to a massive victory in last weekend’s parliamentary election.
President Mohammed Shahabuddin conducted the oath of office and secrecy to the 76-year-old prime minister at a ceremony watched by foreign diplomats, high civil and military officials and elite of the city.
The oath-taking ceremony took place a day after the Awami League Parliamentary Party (ALPP) unanimously elected Hasina as the Leader of the House paving the way for her to become the prime minister for an overall fifth term, a record in Bangladesh history.
Hasina, the elder daughter of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, won from the Gopalganj-3 parliamentary with a huge margin in the January 7 election. She never lost from this seat in her home district since her first contest in 1986.
Hasina and her younger sister Sheikh Rehana survived the August 15, 1975 mayhem that saw the assassination of Bangabandhu along with most members of his family. They were then on vacation in Germany. From Germany the two sisters, the only survivors of Bangabandhu’s family, went to India for about six years of exiled life.
Still in exile in India Hasina was elected the president of Awami League at the age of 34. She returned home from India on May 17, 1981 and immediately launched a campaign against the rule of military ruler Ziaur Rahman for restoration of democracy.
Later she led a pro-democracy movement against the autocratic rule of HM Ershad leading to her downfall in 1990. However, in the general election held in 1991 the Awami League lost to its arch rival Bangladesh Nationalist Party, led by Khaleda Zia.
The Awami League, led by Hasina, won the June 1996 parliamentary elections returning to power for the first time since the assassination of Bangabandhu in 1975.
In 2001 Hasina became the first leader to step down peacefully after serving full five-year term in office and handed over power to a caretaker administration as per the constitution. Her party though was defeated in the 2001 election conducted by a caretaker government.
She again led her party to an absolute win in the 2008 election overseen by a military-backed interim government. She took office for the second time in 2009. She also won the next three elections in 2014, 2018 and the latest on January 7, 2023.
In 2014, Hasina’s party won 153 of the 300 parliamentary seats without a contest thanks to a BNP-led opposition boycott. Though BNP joined the 2018 polls, it was tainted by allegations of massive irregularities, denied by the Awami League. The BNP also stayed away from the January 7 polls after the government rejected its demand to hold the vote under a neutral caretaker administration.
The January 7 election the Awami League secured 222 seats. The independent candidates, largely from AL bagged 62 and the Jatiya Party, led by GM Quader, got only 11 seats.
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