Mohammed Shahabuddin Chuppu, a retired judge who had taken part in the Liberation War of Bangladesh, is all set to become the country’s 22nd President as the ruling Awami League nominated him as the party’s presidential candidate on Sunday.
As the deadline for filing of nomination for the presidential poll — in which the MPs cast their votes to elect the ceremonial head of the country — ended at 4pm on Sunday, the formal announcement of Shahabuddin as the next President is just a formality.
Senior leaders of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, which is the main Opposition in the country, said they were not interested in the presidential polls.
Shahabuddin, believed to be a close aide of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, will replace Abdul Hamid, who has the record of the longest-serving President of Bangladesh. Hamid’s term ends later this month.
“Bangladesh Awami League has decided to nominate Md Shahabuddin Chuppu for the post of the country’s 22nd President. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the president of Awami League, has finalised the nomination,” said the party’s general secretary Obaidul Qader, who along with senior party leaders went to the Election Commission to submit Shahabuddin’s nomination.
Over the last couple of months, capital Dhaka was abuzz with speculation on the Awami League’s nominee for the presidential polls and several names — ranging from that of an adviser to Hasina to a top ruling party politician —were doing the rounds.
“The Prime Minister has sprung a surprise... Instead of picking someone, who has been active in Awami League politics or has connections with her family, she has reposed faith in someone who has a judicial background. In our country, people from judicial backgrounds have more credibility. It seems to be a good choice,” said a former diplomat based in Dhaka.
Bangladeshi media reported that Shahabuddin, who was born in Pabna in 1949, had a distinguished career that began in judicial service in1983 and continued till 2006 when he became a district judge. He also discharged duties as chairman of the labour court besides practising as a lawyer in the Supreme Court. He had also held the position of the commissioner of the country’s anti-corruption commission. He has also served on the board of Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd as an independent director.
Asked for a reaction after his nomination, Shahabuddin said, “There is no reaction now. This is the Almighty Allah’s will.”