The Awami League has nominated Md Abdul Hamid to run for re-election in the next presidential polls.
As the ruling party has absolute majority in parliament, it is only a formality before Hamid becomes president fora second consecutive term.
Bangladesh’s Constitution allows a citizen as president for maximum two terms, which means the next will be Hamid’s last term in the Bangabhaban.
The ruling party’s General Secretary Obaidul Quader announced Hamid’s nomination after a meeting of the party’s Parliamentary Board. It was chaired by party chief Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the Ganabhaban on Wednesday.
Quader said the board unanimously picked Hamid.
“No other name was proposed,” he said.
Tofail Ahmed, a member of the Awami League’s Advisory Council, seconded the choice when Quader proposed Hamid’s name in the meeting.
Quader said they considered Hamid’s long and colourful life and his commitment to the people while making the decision.
“Valiant freedom fighter honourable President Abdul Hamid needs to retain the office for the country’s sake,” he said.
Almost all the members of the board were present in the meeting that lasted for over an hour. Syed Ashraful Islam missed it as he is abroad now while Dr Alauddin Ahmed is sick.
Before being sworn in as the 20th President of Bangladesh five years ago, 74-year-old Hamid was Speaker of Parliament.In his colourful political career of around six decades, he was elected MP on the Awami League’s ticket from Kishoreganj’s backswamp areas for seven times.
The presidential polls will be held before his tenure ends on Apr 23. The election will take place on Feb 18.
The chief election commissioner acts as election officer in the presidential polls where MPs vote in Parliament.
MPs voted to elect a president only once in 1991, when parliamentary democracy was reinstated. Since then, the ceremonial head has been elected unopposed.
As the parliamentary elections are set for the end of this year, the presidential polls will be observed keenly.
If re-elected, Hamid will be the 21st President of Bangladesh.
On Apr 24, 2013, he was sworn in as the 20th president of Bangladesh. Since independence, 16 people have headed the state for 19 terms. Hamid is the 17th person to serve as president.
Born at Kamalpur village in Kishoreganj’s Mithamoin Upazila on Jan 1, 1944, Hamid feels more comfortable to identify himself as a man from Haor or backswamp.
His political career began when he joined Bangladesh Chhatra League in 1959. He had to go to jail when he was a student in 1961 after joining the movement against Pakistani ruler Ayub Khan.
In the 1970 elections, he was elected as the youngest member of Pakistan National Assembly from Mymensingh-18 constituency. He was awarded the Swadhinata Padak, Bangladesh’s highest civilian honour, in 2013 for his contributions during the war of independence.
After independence, he contested the 1973 national elections from the Kishoreganj-5 constituency and won.
He acted as deputy speaker from July 13, 1996 to July 10, 2001. Later, he acted as speaker from Jul 11, 2001 to Oct 28, 2001.
After the 2008 national elections, he was unanimously elected speaker for the second term.
He was hugely popular with the MPs across the political divide for his sense of humour.