Sheikh Hasina, who is set to take oath today as the prime minister for the third consecutive term, has dropped most of her colleagues in the outgoing cabinet, aiming to inject fresh blood in her new government. President Abdul Hamid yesterday appointed Hasina as the PM, and upon her advice appointed 46 ministers, state ministers and deputy ministers, Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam told The Daily Star last night. Hasina dropped 34 of the 47 ministers, including Awami League bigwigs Amir Hossain Amu, Tofail Ahmed, Mohammed Nasim and Matia Chowdhury, to induct 27 new faces and four former ministers in the 47-member council of ministers set to take oath today.
The president of the AL, which won the December 30 election by a landslide, did not include in the new cabinet anyone from her party’s electoral allies. There were six ministers and state ministers — three from the Jatiya Party and one each from the Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD), Workers Party and Jatiya Party (JP-Manju) — in the outgoing cabinet. The new council of ministers will be a single-party one for the first time in 22 years. Following the restoration of democracy in early 90s, the first BNP-led government was formed only with its lawmakers. After that, all successive cabinets comprised lawmakers of more than one party. Setting a rare instance, the cabinet secretary at a press briefing at his secretariat office yesterday announced the names and portfolios of the new ministers before their oath-taking.
“The cabinet will start working after the ministers take oath at 3:30pm tomorrow [today] at the Bangabhaban. Once the new cabinet members are sworn in, the previous cabinet will automatically be replaced by the new one,” said Shafiul. Replying to a question whether there is a possibility of expanding this cabinet, he said, “So far, this one is preliminary and final.” The new council of ministers has 24 ministers, except for the PM, 19 state ministers and three deputy ministers.