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Monday, 12 November, 2001, 18:04 GMT
New president for Bangladesh
Bangladeshi presidential palace
Mr Chowdhury will take up residence on Wednesday
By Waliur Rahman in Dhaka

Foreign Minister AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury has been elected unopposed as Bangladesh's 11th president.

President Shahabuddin Ahmed.
President Ahmed ends five-year term
The Election Commission announced the appointment after Mr Chowdhury's lone challenger pulled out from the race.

The commission said independent candidate Mohammad Raushan Ali withdrew his nomination papers on Monday, two days ahead of the scheduled presidential election.

Officials say Mr Chowdhury will now be sworn in for a five-year term on Wednesday to succeed President Shahabuddin Ahmed.

No contest

Mr Chowdhury was nominated by the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led coalition on Saturday after the incumbent president said he would not seek a second term.

The BNP, led by Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, has more than a two-thirds majority in Parliament.

The opposition Awami League did not field a candidate, saying the BNP's two-thirds majority in parliament made any election meaningless.

Mr Chowdhury told the BBC he would uphold the dignity of the post by playing a neutral role.

He also said his main task would be to persuade the opposition Awami League to join the parliament, which it is currently boycotting.

Colourful career

A British-trained doctor and former television presenter, Mr Chowdhury was named foreign minister after the BNP's victory in last month's general elections.

He was founding Secretary General when the BNP was formed in 1978 and became Deputy Prime Minister in 1979.

He has been a member of parliament five times in his colourful political career which has finally taken him to the highest post of the Republic.

Well-known for his lose involvement with the country's cultural movement, Mr Chowdhury is also an author, essayist and an orator of distinction.

His father Kafiluddin Chowdhury was a minister of the then East Pakistan government.

See also:

28 Oct 01 | South Asia
Opposition boycotts Bangladesh assembly
30 Sep 01 | South Asia
Deaths mar Bangladesh election
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