Monday, June 24, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Most MPs skip Shirin’s election as Speaker

Update : 01 May 2013, 10:45 AM

Less than a half of MPs belonging to the Awami League-led grand alliance turned up in parliament’s sitting yesterday to elect the country’s first woman Speaker.

The treasury bench has 309 MPs in the 350-srong unicameral legislature, but only 130 of them showed up at the time of electing Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury the 13th Speaker of Jatiya Sangsad.

The ruling Awami League alone has 274 MPs while its allies such as Jatiya Party, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal and Workers Party have 29, three and two seats respectively in the House.

The chief whip’s office instructed all the party MPs to be present, but most of the lawmakers stayed away from the House.

Excepting Suranjit Sengupta, senior MPs namely Amir Hossain Amu and Tofail Ahmed—known as reformists in the party— attended the sitting.

Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury herself was not present during the election.

Most of the Jatiya Party MPs remained absent too.

According to parliamentary practices, the MPs must abide by the party instructions communicated through six whips.

The House went into yesterday’s sitting at around 5.15 pm with acting Speaker Col (Rtd) Shawkat Ali in the chair.

Textiles and Jute Minister Abdul Latif Siddiqui proposed Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury’s name as the Speaker. Awami League’s women whip Segufta Yasmin seconded.

Shawkat Ali put the proposal into vote urging lawmakers-- “Please say ‘yes’ who support and say ‘no’ who oppose.” MPs shouted ‘yes’ electing Shirin Sharmin Speaker.

Unlike the election of Abdul Hamid the speaker on January 25, 2009, MPs this time shouted ‘yes’ in a feeble voice and the desk thumbing after the election was very brief, too.

Following the election, the newly elected Speaker went to the President’s chamber in the parliament building to take oath.

She was sworn in as Speaker by President Abdul Hamid.

“We communicated with all MPs for the speaker election,” Chief Whip Abdus Shahid told Dhaka Tribune. Though only one candidate was there for the election, he said, he had to ask the MPs to attend the House for the vote as the Rules of Procedure stipulated to have assembly’s nod.

“My presence is immaterial, she is bound to be elected as Speaker,” said an Awami League MP. But one from the most senior MPs should have been elected the Speaker, commented the lawmaker.

However, to Prime Minister and Leader of the House She Hasina, Shirin’s election as Speaker was 'historic'.

"Our neighbouring countries such as India and Pakistan have woman speakers. Why should Bangladesh lag behind in this regard?" said Hasina in her speech winding up the 17th session.

Top Brokers


Popular Links