Stating that her government overcame enormous odds to successfully hold the January 5 elections, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday claimed that it was a first for Bangladesh's history that a democratically elected government handed over power to another.
“We hope this system continues and that is our aim,” she said. Hasina's claim contradicts the fact that the February 15, 1996 elections under the then BNP-led government had also seen the same phenomenon.
She also thanked women who had defied threats and intimidation to vote in the elections, which were boycotted by the BNP-led 18-party alliance and followed by countrywide violence by the opposition men.
She was addressing at her official residence, Gono Bhaban, a programme to interview several hundred female Awami League (AL) activists seeking party tickets for the reserved seats for women in parliament.
The AL president said 822 women applied for 36 of the 50 seats AL got as per its two-thirds majority in parliament and that nominations would be given based on the candidates' qualifications.
She directed the nomination aspirants to continue to work for their respective areas, saying all of them would gradually get the scope for representation in parliament.
She said her government has been working for the overall development of women and during the 1996-2001 tenure introduced the provision of the reserved seats amidst tremendous obstacles rising from a male-dominated society.
Terming the immense participation of women in politics a big achievement, she said this would create a positive impact in women empowerment across the globe.
Bangladesh created an example in women empowerment and leadership as its prime minister, opposition leader and deputy leader of the House are all women, she said.
AL leaders Syed Ashraful Islam, Amir Hossain Amu, Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, Suranjit Sengupta, Tofail Ahmed, Obaidul Quader and Mrinal Kanti Das were present.