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Bangladesh: President to Head Interim Government
Opposition alliance claims move violates constitution
Golam Mustofa Sarowar (Golam)     Print Article 
Published 2006-10-30 12:49 (KST)   
In an unusual move, Bangladeshi President Iajuddin Ahmed has appointed himself chief advisor of a nonparty caretaker government, taking over from Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, whose five-year term ended Friday.

The president's self-appointment came after the first five options fixed in the constitution for the appointment of a chief advisor had been exhausted. As head of the caretaker government, Ahmed will oversee elections in January.

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The 14-party opposition alliance, led by the Awami League, has neither accepted nor rejected the president's assumption of office, but has expressed regret that the constitutional provisions have been skipped.

Meanwhile, the army is reportedly on alert to be deployed, if necessary, to quell the acts of violence occurring across the country.

Under Article 58 of the constitution, former Chief Justice K. M. Hasan was supposed to take over as the leader of the caretaker government on Saturday. He refused the office in the face of widespread protests by the opposition alliance and other organizations.

In the process of trying other constitutional options, the president held meetings on Sunday with four major political parties, but the parties were unable reach a consensus on the issue.

His efforts having failed, Ahmed then took charge of the interim administration. He was sworn in by Chief Justice Syed J. R. Mudassir Husain at a simple ceremony at Bangabhaban -- the president's official residence in Dhaka, the capital -- at 8 p.m. on Sunday.

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In bloody clashes between Awami League and ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party activists that began Friday, 27 people have been killed and 3,000 others injured.

Briefing reporters after a meeting of the opposition alliance on Sunday night, Awami League president Sheikh Hasina Wazed said the president's assumption of office was not provided for in the constitution.
©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Golam Mustofa Sarowar

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