Pro-government Mohammad Shahabuddin nominated as Bangladesh president

(Update 1: updates with more info about the president)

Dhaka, Feb 13 (EFE).- Bangladesh on Monday announced the election of former judge Mohammad Shahabuddin – member of the ruling Awami League’s advisory council – as the president of the country, a day after he was nominated by the League and no other candidates emerged for the post.

“The nomination of only one individual is found to be valid as per the presidential election rules. (…) Mohammad Shahabuddin has been elected as the president of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh,” Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Habibul Awal said in a statement.

Shahabuddin was born in 1949 in the northwestern Pabna district and played the role of an organizer among the rebel fighters during Bangladesh’s “liberation war” that eventually led to its independence from Pakistan, Awami League’s office secretary Biplab Barua told EFE.

He was also the leader of the Awami League’s student and youth fronts in the Pabna district in the 1970s.

After spending three years in jail after the assassination of Bangladehs’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and a coup, he worked as a journalist in a pro-League newspaper, before joining the judicial service in 1982.

During Sheikh Hasina’s first term as prime minister (1996-2001), he was appointed by the government as a coordinator in the assassinaton case surrounding her father Mujibur.

After retiring as district judge in 2006, he served as commissioner of the country’s anti-corruption body between 2011 and 2016.

Shahabuddin’s candidature was the only to be registered by the commission to replace the incumbent head of state Abdul Hamid, also a member of the Awami Leage, whose term is set to end on Apr. 23. Hamid has been the president since 2013.

The absence of other candidates has made an election unnecessary, although a potential poll was likely to have produced the same result as the League has a massive majority in the parliament with 288 of the total 300 seats.

The Bangladeshi constitution blocks Hamid from seeking a third term in office after being reelected in 2018, as a president is only allowed to occupy the post for two terms.

The post of president is largely ceremonial in Bangladesh as per the constitution, as the prime minister enjoys most of the executive powers to run the country.

Shahabuddin was born in 1949 in the northwestern Pabna destrict and served as commissioner of the country’s anti-corruption body between 2011 and 2016 after retiring as district judge in 2006.

The Awami League formed its third consecutive government in the 2018 elections with the help of some allies, amid allegations of massive electoral irregularities and fraud. EFE


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