Hasina swears as Bangladesh PM, allocates cabinet

Sheikh Hasina offered Finance Ministry to economist Abul Maal Abdul Muhit.

Hasina swears as Bangladesh PM, allocates cabinet

Bangladesh's new Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina allocated portfolios to her 23 cabinet members, offering the Finance Ministry to economist Abul Maal Abdul Muhit.

The Foreign and Home Ministries went, for the first time, to women legislators.

Hasina named senior Supreme Court lawyer Sahara Khatun to head the Home (interior) Ministry and the leader of her Awami League women's front, Dipu Moni, to head foreign affairs.

Hasina, winner of last month's parliamentary election, was sworn in as prime minister for a second five-year term on Tuesday by President Iajuddin Ahmed, ending two years of rule by an army-backed interim government.

Iajuddin also administered the oath to Hasina's ministers, hours before she allocated them ministries.

Hasina's Awami League and its allies won more than two-thirds of parliament's 300 seats in the Dec. 29 election, billed free and credible by local and international monitors.

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) led by Hasina's rival Begum Khaleda Zia, also a former prime minister, and its Jamaat-e-Islami ally won 31 seats, and alleged the vote was rigged.

Hasina rejected the charge and offered to share power with Khaleda's party if it cooperated with the new administration.

H.T. Imam, one of Hasina's top advisers, said Sahara and Dipu were "chosen carefully by judging their honesty, integrity and ability to perform". He did not elaborate.

Muhit served as finance minister in the administration of former military ruler Hossain Mohammad Ershad in the mid-1980s.

Hasina on Tuesday appointed retired air force chief A.K. Khandaker as her planning minister and former army colonel Faruk Khan as commerce minister.

The Agriculture Ministry went to Begum Motia Chowdhury, who held the same post in Hasina's 1996-2001 government.

Golam Mohammad Quader, a member of parliament from Ershad's Jatiya Party, an Awami ally, has been given charge of the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism. Nurul Islam Nahid and Dilip Barua of two left-wing partners in Hasina's alliance got the Education and Industry ministries.

Other ministries went mostly to Awami League MPs, officials said. Hasina has also allocated portfolios to eight State Ministers she named late on Tuesday.

All but a few of Hasina's new ministers are young and newcomers to parliament. "People love new faces and so I decided to give them a bigger responsibility to build the country," Hasina said after taking the oath.

Reuters
Last Mod: 07 Ocak 2009, 14:52
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