Sheikh Hasina sworn in as Bangladesh's prime minister

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Dhaka, Jan 12: Sheikh Hasina was today sworn in as Bangladesh's prime minister for the third time along with her 48-member cabinet after the controversial polls that were marred by deadly clashes, a low turnout and a boycott by opposition parties.

President Abdul Hamid administered the oath - first to Hasina - at the Bangabhavan presidential palace here in a ceremony attended by government and top military officials, foreign envoys, politicians and civil society leaders.

"I am, Sheikh Hasina, taking oath...that I will discharge my duties faithfully as the prime minister of the government as per the law," Hasina said amid claps from the audience. 66-year-old Hasina's cabinet was also sworn into office during the nationally-televised ceremony. The new cabinet comprises 48 members. Hasina has 29 full ministers, 17 state ministers, and 2 deputy ministers, few from Ershad-led Jatiya Party which plans to sit in the opposition but also have a presence in the Cabinet.

Sheikh Hasina was sworn in as the PM of Bangladesh for the 3rd time

This is the third time she takes over as the premier in the last two decades (in 1996 and 2009) since Bangladesh returned to democracy from military rule. She is seeking to reward all parties who joined the January 5 polls, braving a boycott by the BNP-led opposition alliance.

Hasina's party, Awami League, clinched a landslide victory in the parliamentary election, bagging 231 seats in the face of a boycott of the polls by the BNP-led 18-party opposition alliance. At least 21 people were killed in poll-related violence during the "one-sided" elections.

Most voters had preferred to stay home during the January 5 polls in 147 out of 300 constituencies in 59 districts. Awami League won 231 seats, of which 127 seats were uncontested, giving it a clear three-fourths majority in the country's 10th parliament. The 18-party alliance led by former premier Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) boycotted the polls after her arch-rival Hasina rejected the opposition's demand for a neutral caretaker regime for election oversight.


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