DHAKA (AFP) — The president of Bangladesh's emergency government, Iajuddin Ahmed, is to stay on after his five-year term expires this week as there is no parliament to elect a successor, a minister said Tuesday.
"He has to continue until a new president is elected. There cannot be a void. Since there is no parliament, he has to continue as per the constitution of the country," interim information and law minister Mainul Hosein said.
Ahmed, 76, was elected president by the parliament in September 2002 after the resignation of A.Q.M. Badruddoza Chowdhury, who fell out with Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, the leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party.
Elections scheduled for January this year were cancelled following months of political unrest, with Ahmed declaring a state of emergency.
An interim government backed by the powerful armed forces has been running the country since then, and has pledged to push through wide-ranging reforms and combat corruption before new elections are held by the end of 2008.
The head of state has had little authority over day-to-day affairs since a change in the constitution in 1991 vested most powers in the prime minister.
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