Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been named the President of the Awami League for the seventh time in a row at the party’s 19th triennial national council on Saturday.
The incumbent General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam has also been re-elected.
The newly elected leadership will lead the Awami league for the next three years.
AL Presidium Member Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim proposed Hasina’s name for the position of President, while the outgoing Joint General Secretary Mahbub-ul Alam Hanif proposed Ashraf’s name as the GS at the party’s council at the Engineers Institution Auditorium.
The councilors endorsed both the names unanimously, following which the Chairman of the party’s Election Session Rahmat Ali announced their re-elections.
Hasina announced the abolition of the previous committee just before election of the new leadership. The three-member election committee conducted the next steps. Two other members of the committee were Yusuf Hossain Humayun and AKM Mozammel Hoque.
“I had wanted whole-heartedly that you elect a new leadership, and I will be beside them for assistance,” Hasina said in her immediate reaction after becoming the new President.
She has been leading the party since 1982. She was elected President even when she was abroad after her father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most of her family members were killed. She took over the party on her return home.
Hasina, however, thanked councillors for their support.
“I take the responsibility you have entrusted upon me with utmost respect as the election is ahead.”
She welcomed Ashraf for his re-election to the position of the party’s general secretary.
“I along with Ashraf will announce the new (full-fledged) committee after discussions with the senior leaders of the party.”
As many as 6,300 councillors attended the party forum with the slogan to advance the country in the path of peace, establishing democracy, and ensuring development.
The last council was held on July 24, 2009.
The party was founded 63 years back on June 23 of 1949, and led the nation in its War of Independence. Sheikh Mujib was the Joint Secretary of the party at the time it was floated and Maolana Bhasani and Shamsul Hoque were its first President and General Secretary respectively.
Though the party began its journey with the name ‘Awami Muslim league’, it dropped the word ‘Muslim’ in 1955 pledging to promote secular politics. It became Bangladesh Awami League after the independence.
The party’s rise to fame began in the 1950s through political programmes and when it won the elections in 1954.
The founding President Bhasani, however, deserted the party due to differences in political ideology and formed the National Awami Party (NAP) in 1957.
The party won the support of the people through its anti-military-rule programmes led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who in 1966 announced a six-point charter, which was then identified as the path to liberate Bengali people.
Finally, Awami League won the 1970 elections apparently riding on its six-point charter.
Awami League led the nation as Pakistani occupation forces unleashed armed offensive on the Bengali people. The war continued for nine months until it was won.
The biggest crisis the party faced since its inception was in 1975, when Bangabandhu and most of his family members were killed by a group of army officers.
The incident exposed the Awami League to intra-party rift as gap widened among its top leaders over various issues.
Hasina survived the military offensive as she was abroad at the moment and returned home on May 17, 1981 to re-unite a divided Awami League.
She led the movement against deposed military ruler HM Ershad.
In 1996, Awami League formed the government after a gap of 21 years, only to be defeated in the next general elections in 2001.
The party formed the government for the second time in 2008 after a landslide victory against the BNP-led alliance.