DHAKA: Bangladesh on Sunday named a council of ministers with several new faces in the 47-member Cabinet of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina whose Awami League returned to power for a third consecutive term after its landslide victory in the December 30 election.
Several veterans were dropped from the council of ministers amid speculation about the inductions as major portfolios like defence were retained by Hasina herself.
Academic-turned-diplomat Abdul Momen, a new face in politics, was appointed the new foreign minister. He previously served as Bangladesh’s permanent envoy at the UN.
Former planning minister and businessman A H M Mustafa Kamal became the finance minister in the Cabinet which has 24 full ministers with the rest being ministers of state.
Several influential Awami League figures including general secretary Obaidul Quader, Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, Anisul Huq and A K M Mozammel Haque retained their positions in the ministries of road transport and bridges, home, law, and liberation affairs.
But 25 former ministers, nine state ministers and two deputy ministers – several of them regarded as Awami League stalwarts were dropped from the new Cabinet.
Influential figures who were discarded included former commerce minister Tofail Ahmed, former industries minister Amir Hossain Amu, former agriculture minister Motia Chowdhury, former health minister Mohammad Nasim and former local government minister Khondker Mosharaf Hossain.
The Awami League-led Grand Alliance’s two key allies are Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal and Workers Party, whose leaders are former information minister Hassanul Haque Inu and Rashed Khan Menon. Both are also absent in the new Cabinet.