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Bangladeshi President Resigns

June 21, 2002

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DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) _ Bangladesh’s figurehead president resigned Friday, a day after the governing party asked him to quit for showing disrespect to the party’s late founder.

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party had accused President A.Q.M. Badruddoza Choudhury on Thursday of insulting party founder and slain President Ziaur Rahman by not visiting his grave on the 21st anniversary of his death May 30.

Rahman, who was the husband of the current prime minister, Khaleda Zia, was killed in a failed military coup in 1981, while he was on an official visit to the southeastern port city of Chittagong.

``I have resigned according to the ruling party decision, to uphold the democratic process,″ Choudhury said in a brief statement before leaving the presidential palace for his home.

The move was expected. Mahi Choudhury, the president’s son and a lawmaker from the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, had announced Thursday that his father would respect the party’s wishes and step down Friday.

The elder Choudhury didn’t explain why he had stayed away from the ceremony marking Rahman’s death.

Choudhury, 73, gave up his parliament seat and his membership with the governing party after he was elected president by lawmakers in November.

On Friday, Choudhury sent a handwritten resignation letter to Jamiruddin Sircar, the speaker of parliament. Sircar will serve as acting president until parliament elects Choudhury’s successor within 90 days.

Choudhury was elected a lawmaker in October 2001 and has served as foreign minister.

Bangladesh is a parliamentary democracy under which executive power is held by the prime minister. The president is a titular head.

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