Zillur Rahman is new Bangladesh president (Lead)

February 11th, 2009 - 7:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Feb 11 (IANS) Veteran Awami League politican Zillur Rahman will be sworn in as Bangladesh’s 19th president Thursday, the Election Commission announced Wednesday. He was declared elected unopposed.
Rahman is slated to resign as member of parliament and the deputy leader before being administered oath of office by Chief Justice M.M. Ruhul Amin, Star Online said Wednesday.

The 79-year-old veteran Awami League leader was elected unopposed as no other nominee came forward for the presidential election.

Outgoing president Iajuddin Ahmed took leave from the presidential palace Wednesday morning.

He had stayed on as the country’s president after his term expired as Bangladesh did not have a parliament last year.

President-designate Zillur, while speaking on the eve of his oath taking, expressed his desire to work for the welfare of his countrymen.

“I will do everything possible within my limited capability for safeguarding democracy and people’s welfare. You know well that the president enjoys limited power. I will do my job as best I can within those limits,” Rahman said.

Bangladesh has a Westminster-style parliamentary democracy in which the president is the constitutional head, supreme commander of the armed forces and performs ceremonial duties.

A freedom fighter and a close associate of Bangladesh’s founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Zillur Rahman led the party during the time Sheikh Hasina, now the country’s prime minister, was in jail and went abroad for medical treatment.

During a long political career that began when he was yet a student, Zillur Rahman was elected to the provincial assembly during the Pakistan era and after independence, won his parliamentary seat five times.

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