On 25th April 2023, veteran politician Mohammed Shahabuddin was sworn in as the 22nd president of Bangladesh at a state ceremony held at the Durbar Hall of Bangabhaban. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, the Speaker, administered the oath to the 73-year-old Shahabuddin.
Shahabuddin’s Election and Responsibilities as President
Shahabuddin’s election to the presidency was unopposed in February 2023 as a candidate of the ruling Awami League. As the largely ornamental head of state, the primary responsibilities of the president in Bangladesh are to appoint the prime minister and become the constitutional guardian of the country. The office of the president draws extra attention, particularly during general elections.
Assessing the Political Situation
Shahabuddin has pledged to review the political situation and assess if he needs to play any role in minimizing disputes between political parties. Bangladesh is set for general elections in December or January next year amid growing differences between the ruling Awami League and its main opposition, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), over the electoral system.
Before joining politics, Shahabuddin was a retired district judge who later served as one of the commissioners of the independent Anti-Corruption Commission. He hails from the northwestern Pabna district and was a leader of the Awami League’s student and youth wings in his early life. Shahabuddin took part in the 1971 Liberation War and was imprisoned following the 1975 assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the father of Prime Minister Hasina. In 1982, he was inducted into the country’s judicial service.