DHAKA: Sheikh Hasina was sworn in for a third spell as Bangladesh’s prime minister after a deadly general election boycotted by the opposition amid an ongoing political crisis.
President Abdul Hamid led the oath at the presidential palace in the capital Dhaka in a ceremony broadcast live on television channels, one week after the polls which were condemned by the opposition as a farce.
“I am, Sheikh Hasina, taking oath... that I will discharge my duties faithfully as the prime minister of the government as per the law,” Hasina said, sparking applause during the ceremony which included recitations from the Quran.
Hasina’s 48 Cabinet colleagues were also sworn into office during the ceremony attended by about 1,000 government and top military officials, along with foreign diplomats and newly elected members of parliament.
Hasina has insisted her walkover win in the Jan 5 elections was legitimate, despite a boycott by the opposition and its allies and the deadliest election violence in the country’s history.
Hasina’s Awami League party won nearly 80% of the seats, which should allow her to rule for another five years.
But analysts said the new government could be short-lived since Hasina faces a deepening political crisis and mounting calls for new polls from the international community and the opposition.
The opposition, led by two-times former prime minister and arch enemy Khaleda Zia, has, since Wednesday, called for a blockade of roads, rail and waterways to try to topple the government.
Zia, who has been under de facto house arrest, was allowed to leave home in Dhaka on Saturday for the first time in more than two weeks.
She was permitted to attend a meeting at her office but it is unclear if her house arrest, which authorities have officially denied, has been completely lifted. — AFP