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Dhaka Tribune

Shirin Sharmin set to be first woman Speaker

Update : 29 Apr 2013, 05:02 AM

The ruling Awami League has decided to nominate Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury, state minister for women’s affairs, as Speaker of the House, the post left vacant by Abdul Hamid who took over as the country’s 20th president.

If approved, she will become the first woman speaker of Bangladesh, AL sources confirmed.

The position of Col (retd) Shawkat Ali, now given the charge of acting speaker, will remain unchanged as deputy speaker.

The selection was made at a meeting of the Awami League Parliamentary Board yesterday, ending all speculation over the party’s choice for the third constitutional position of the country.  A formal announcement will be made after the meeting of Awami League Parliamentary Party (ALPP) scheduled for 4pm today.

Earlier, at the parliamentary board meeting on April 13, party President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed her desire to see a woman in the post of Speaker.

After that meeting, AL general secretary and LGRD Minister Syed Ashraful Islam told reporters that the party would take a decision on the next Speaker of parliament at the ALPP meeting.

Sources present at yesterday’s parliamentary board meeting held with Sheikh Hasina in the chair, confirmed that four names were discussed for the post. Former Law minister Abdul Matin Khasru, AL general secretary Syed Ashraful Islam and AL lawmaker Fazley Rabbi were among them. Finally, Shirin Sharmin has been chosen unopposed.

Shirin Sharmin, the international affairs secretary of the Awami League, was elected MP to one of the reserved seats for women.

Earlier, while talking with some reporters, Shawkat hinted that he might resign if somebody else was made Speaker. But nothing about the deputy speaker’s post was discussed at yesterday’s meeting, insiders said.

Tofail Ahmed, Suranjit Sengupta, Kazi Zafarullah and Syed Ashraful Islam were among the senior leaders present at the meeting.

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