New parliament will convene on Jan. 25
Friday, 09 January 2009

New parliament will convene on Jan. 25Dhaka, Jan 8 ( – The new parliament will convene on Jan. 25, an aide to the president said on Thursday.

"The order of the president has been sent to the Parliament Secretariat. The first session will begin at 3pm on January 25," Md Sirajul Islam, Bangabhaban secretary in-charge of public affairs, told on Thursday.

The first sitting of parliament will elect a speaker, deputy speaker and whips for the ninth parliament dominated by the Awami League.

The first session is believed to approve all the decisions of the military-backed caretaker government which had no constitutional authority on taking policy decisions of the state.

The interim government of Fakhruddin Ahmed was supposed to last for only 90 days as per the constitution. But it stayed in power for about two years and passed over 100 ordinances to carry out anti-corruption drive and execute other controversial decisions.

As per the constitution, the ordinances must be placed at the first sitting of the first session for approval.

The approval will give the interim government and its backers constitutional immunity from legal proceedings for constitutional violations.

The parliament last sat on Oct. 4, 2006.

The first sitting of the immediate-past eighth parliament, dominated by the BNP-led four party alliance, took place on October 28 without the presence of the then main opposition the Awami League.

The Awami League MPs then declined to take oath as it alleged the Oct. 1, 2001 polls had been rigged.

But this time, the opposition--the BNP-led four alliance--has made it clear that they would take oath and join parliament at the first sitting.

The parliamentary election on Dec. 29, 2008 gave the ruling Awami League-led alliance a thumping 262 seats of 299. BNP and its allies bagged just 32, while Independent candidates won four seats.

The military-installed caretaker government took office on Jan. 12, 2007 as the president declared state of emergency on Jan. 11 of the same year amid political turmoil between two feuding alliances over holding of the annulled Jan. 22 elections.

The obstinate interim administration did not pay heed to the political parties' demands of early polls and announced that it would leave office by Dec. 31, 2009 by holding a free, fair and credible polls.

The political parties at one stage accepted the government proposal and took part in the Dec. 29 polls.


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