Bangladesh Premier To Depart Office
When Sheikh Hasina departs from the prime minister's office this weekend, she will be the first leader of this violence-wracked South Asian nation to serve out a full five-year term of office.
In the 30 years since its independence from Pakistan, Bangladesh has seen two presidential assassinations ЎЄ one victim was Hasina's father ЎЄ three military coups and 19 failed coups.
Elected in 1996 in what international observers called the country's fairest voting, Hasina survived a three-year Parliament boycott by the opposition, 89 days of crippling national strikes and a crime wave that brought harsh new security laws.
The opposition accuses her government of harassing political rivals and being corrupt and incompetent.
Her administration boasts of achieving self-sufficiency in food production, lowering inflation and improving women's lives in a male-dominated Muslim society. It also signed a 1997 accord with Chakma guerrillas, ending a two-decade war for autonomy that claimed more than 20,000 lives.
Hasina hands power to a former Supreme Court chief justice, Latifur Rahman, who will head a 10-member caretaker administration to supervise October elections for a new 300-member parliament.
Hasina and her younger sister, Rehana, were visiting Germany at the time. Last month parliament approved a law giving Hasina and Rehana lifelong security financed by the state and allowing Hasina to remain in the prime minister's official residence after leaving office. Critics say the privileges give her advantages in the October election.
source: People's Daily Online, July 13, 2001