The “22nd president of Bangladesh,” Mohammad Shahabuddin, took his oath on Monday in a ceremony attended by the Prime Minister of the country, Sheikh Hasina, and other cabinet members.
The ceremony is conducted at the historic “Durbar Hall of Bangabhaban” and led by the speaker, Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, who administered the oath to 73-year-old Shahabuddin. Other attendees included Supreme Court judges, prominent civil, lawmakers and military officials, Prime Minister Hasina, and members of the new president’s family.
Abdul Hamid, whose term ended on Sunday, is replaced by Shahabuddin. Shahabuddin completed the oath paperwork for the presidency and signed it after the event.
As a candidate for the ruling “Awami League,” he won the presidency with no opposition in February of this year.
Despite serving mostly as a decorative head of state, the presidency garners extra attention, especially during general elections, because the president picks the prime minister and assumes the role of constitutional protector for the nation.
In spite of deepening differences over the voting system between the ruling Awami League and its main opposition, the “Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP),” Bangladesh is scheduled to hold general elections in December or January of next year.
In a media interview last week, lower court judge Shahabuddin stated that he anticipated the independent constitutional body to do its proper function and that it was mostly the Election Commission’s obligation to create the environment that would inspire voters to cast their ballots.
Shahabuddin, a former district judge who was born in 1949 and hails from the Pabna district in northwest Pakistan, served as one of the members of the “independent Anti-Corruption Commission.”
He later entered politics and was elected to the “Awami League Advisory Council,” which is composed of top party officials and technocrats. However, if he were to win the election for the highest seat, he would have to resign from his position on the party’s board.
Shahabuddin participated in the 1971 Liberation War and served as a leader of the student and youth wings of the “Awami League” in his youth.
After Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the father of Prime Minister Hasina, was killed in 1975, he was put in jail. He was admitted to the country’s judiciary service in 1982.