There is a lot of talk everywhere about who will become the country’s next President as the incumbent, Abdul Hamid, is set to end his 2nd consecutive term on April 23.
The Election Commission (EC) has set February 19 for the presidential election to abide the constitutional obligation that a new President has to be elected within 90 to 60 days prior to the end of the tenure of the incumbent.
As per the constitution, the tenure of the President is five years from the day of taking oath.
Sources in ruling Awami League said party President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will soon choose a suitable candidate for taking the helm of Bangabhaban, the office of the head of state.
She will also sit in a meeting with AL Parliamentary Party to have their opinions before finalising the name, they said, adding that everything might be cleared within a week.
As the election date is drawing nearer, the curiosity of people is also growing.
Senior AL leaders say a few names, including Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, PM’s Adviser on Economic Affairs Dr Mashiur Rahman, former Chief Justice ABM Khairul Haque and former minister engineer Mosharraf Hossain, have been in the air.
Apart from these names, the party president may pick anyone else for Bangabhaban, the AL leaders say.
Under the circumstances, a debate is going on among the party leaders whether the party president should consider anyone with a bureaucratic background or from other field, or a true politician for the presidency.
The name of Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury has been doing the rounds on social media platforms for the last few weeks.
AL insiders say party President Sheikh Hasina once expressed her desire to elect a female as President. Under that context, Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury would be the best choice.
If the Speaker becomes the President, then country’s President, Prime Minister, Leader of the House, Deputy Leader of the House and Leader of the Opposition all will be from the women folk.
After the country’s independence, Mashiur Rahman served as the personal officer of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He became secretary of the Economic Division after AL assumed office in 1996. He also discharged responsibilities as the chairman of National Board of Revenue.
After Awami League reassumed office in 2009, Mashiur Rahman was appointed as PM’s adviser on economic affairs and he is still serving the post.
Record shows that there was no need for voting for electing the President since 1991 as the ruling party-nominated candidate becomes the President unopposed.
Ruling Awami League has the absolute majority in the current parliament. In that case, there is no possibility of any other party fielding a candidate.
If there is one candidate for the presidency, no voting will be required.
As per the schedule, the presidential election will be held on February 19.
The nomination papers can be submitted to the Chief Election Commissioner till February 12. The scrutiny of nomination papers will take place on February 13 while nomination papers can be withdrawn till February 14.
Abdul Hamid assumed office for his second term on April 24, 2018. Accordingly, his five-year tenure will end on April 23 next.
His first five-year tenure expired on April 23, 2018 as he took office on April 24, 2013.