January 6, 2009 / 1:44 PM / 11 years ago

FACTBOX: Sheikh Hasina becomes Bangladesh PM for 2nd time

(Reuters) - Sheikh Hasina, whose Awami League won a landslide victory in last month’s parliamentary election, was sworn in as Bangladesh prime minister on Tuesday.

It is her second time to hold the office.

She defeated her rival, Begum Khaleda Zia, chief of the Bangladesh Nationalist party (BNP), in a landslide win in the December 29 election, ending two years of rule by an army-backed interim government.

Here are some facts about Hasina’s political career:

DAUGHTER OF FOUNDING LEADER

* Hasina, 61, took over as Awami League chief after her father, Bangladesh’s founding leader and first president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, was killed in an army coup in 1975 along with most members of their family.

* She led the Awami League to power in 1996, 21 years after Mujib’s death, and changed the party’s policy, focusing more on economic liberalization than socialism.

SHOCK DEFEAT

* Hasina suffered a shock defeat by main rival Begum Khaleda Zia and her Bangladesh Nationalist Party in the 2001 general election, as Khaleda appealed to Islamist voters and criticized Hasina over the country’s foreign debt.

* Hasina escaped death in August 2004, when grenades were thrown at a rally she was addressing, killing 23 people. She suffered partial loss of hearing due to the blasts.

ELECTION BOYCOTT

* Hasina’s boycott of elections planned for January 2007 helped prompt an army-backed interim government to take power. It canceled the vote and imposed emergency rule.

* She was arrested in July 2007 in an anti-graft drive launched by the interim government. She was released on parole in June after nearly a year behind bars.

* Hasina returned home in early November, after getting medical treatment in the United States, to lead her party in the long-delayed election.

POLICIES

* Her past record suggests Hasina will take a relatively pro-business and pro-economic liberalization approach, as well as aggressively pursue violent Islamist militants and resist efforts to make Bangladesh an Islamic state.

* However, in the economic area the impact of the global slowdown on Bangladesh, a major textile exporter, could limit her room to maneuver.

* She has promised to tackle corruption, a barrier to investment and aid, despite the charges against her on that score, which she denies.

* Hasina has offered to share power with her rival ex-premier Khaleda, giving her party some important parliamentary positions, if they cooperate with the new government.

Reporting by Ruma Paul; Writing by Anis Ahmed and Jerry Norton; Editing by Sugita Katyal

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