Ershad names new Cabinet
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) _ President Hussain Muhammad Ershad announced a new 32-member Cabinet Sunday, replacing Prime Minister Mizanur Rahman Choudhury but retaining other aides in important positions.
Named to succeed Choudhury was Deputy Prime Minister Maudud Ahmed, a British-trained lawyer, who also will have the Industries Ministry. Political observers said Choudhury may become speaker of the 300-member Parliament.
Foreign Minister Humayun Rasheed Choudhury and Finance Minister Maj. Gen. Abdul Munem will remain in their posts in the Cabinet, known as the Council of Ministers.
Cabinet changes had been expected after Ershad’s Jatiya Party won the March 3 elections that were boycotted by the major opposition groups. Jatiya won 251 seats in Parliament.
Kazi Jafar Ahmed, a political advisor to the president, was promoted to deputy prime minister replacing Maudud Ahmed. The two other deputy prime ministers are Shah Moazem Hussain, who also heads the rural development and local government ministries, and Abdul Matin who is in charge of the Home Ministry.
Political analysts said no major shifts were expected in Ershad’s policies of non-alignment and a free-market economy.
Alliances headed by two major opposition leaders, Sheik Hasina and Khalida Zia, have organized scores of demonstrations since Nov. 10, demanding that Ershad resign.
Ershad, a 58-year-old former army general, declared a state of emergency on Dec. 6 to curb the anti-government protests. He seized power in a coup in March 1982, asssumed the presidency in 1983 and was elected president in 1986.