- In-Country Power
- International Power
- Military Strength
- Special Skill: Unparalleled Political Persistence
- Official Title: Prime Minister
- Government: Established democracy (sometimes still shaky)
- Years Left in Office: Indefinite: no term limits
- Political Classification: Center-left
- Education: Bachelors
- Age: 71 (born September 28, 1947)
Sheikh Hasina Facts and Information
- Sheikh Hasina is the current Prime Minister of Bangladesh, her third term in this position
- Sheikh Hasina is center-left politically and socially
- Sheikh Hasina is is the leader of the Awami League Party in Bangladesh
- Sheikh Hasina is ranked 47th on Forbes’ list of 100 Most Powerful Women in the World
Surprised to see a South Asian woman in a hijab on the World Leaders’ list? Believe it or not, Sheikh Hasina is considered to be one of the most powerful women in the world, as she currently holds the Prime Minister spot of Bangladesh for the third time since January 2009! Born on September 28, 1947, as the eldest of five children of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father and first President of Bangladesh, it is not surprising that Hasina has a political career of more than four decades. However, those four decades weren’t the smoothest ride and even still, sitting in the seat of Bangladesh’s Prime Minister is not the easiest thing to do as she continues to promote democracy while the other governmental powers of Bangladesh continue to cause uprisings.
On August 15, 1975, while Hasina’s father was in office, a group of junior army officers invaded the presidential residence and killed all of his family and staff members. Then how is Hasina still alive? Well luckily, Hasina was visiting West Germany at the time and survived her first assassination attempt. (More to come later!) Unfortunately, she was not allowed to return to the country until February of 1981, when she was elected to lead the Awami League Party, which is one of the two largest political parties in Bangladesh.
When Hasina arrived in Bangladesh, the President of Bangladesh at the time, Ziaur Rahman, was assassinated in an attempt for a military coup. A year later, a General named Hossain Mohammad Ershad seized power through a bloodless coup and declared the Martial Law, suppressing political party activities and suspending Bangladesh’s Constitution. During this time, Hasina and her party, along with the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, continued to fight to restore democracy and as a result, Hasina was under and out of arrest in the 1980s. In the midst of all the military coup craziness, Hasina gave an election under a dictatorial rule a shot, in which she was criticized for taking part in dictatorial activities. However, her supporters remained to say that she used this opportunity effectively to challenge Ershad’s rule. This election, however, was not one of the many elections she came to win and succeed a Prime Minister power.
Bangladesh continued to paddle in the swamp of military coups and uprisings while the Awami League Party and Bangladesh’s Nationalist Party led by Hasina and Khaleda Zia – Ziaur Rahman’s widow!!!, respectively, continued to attempt to restore a form of democracy. Finally, the first free general election was scheduled in 1991 after years of military rule, protests and strikes and resulted in Bangladesh’s first female Prime Minister, Khaleda, which, again, was not Hasina. At this point, Hasina offered to resign as the party president after another defeat but she ended up staying at the request of other Awami League’s leaders.
Moreover, Hasina and her followers accused the BNP of dishonesty during the 1991 election and the Awami League, along with many other opposing parties boycotted the parliament. The BNP never confessed to the vote fraud, but Khaleda was forced to agree to arrange a new election where a nonparty caretaker government would oversee due to the economic and political turmoil Bangladesh was in. Finally, Hasina was elected Prime Minister during this new election in June 1996.
The economy of Bangladesh grew steadily during Hasina’s first term as Prime Minister whereas the country continued to face political chaos. The BNP organized protests and strikes, which were often violent. Despite the craziness, Hasina remained in office and became the first Prime Minister to complete a full five-year term in 2001. However, Hasina and the Awami League lost the following election to Khaleda and the BNP. Once again, Hasina and her supporters protested against the outcome of the election, arguing that the election was dishonest but this time, the protests were at no effect.
During her term as a part of the opposing party, Bangladesh once again fell back into political unrest. In 2004, Hasina faced minor injuries during another assassination grenade attack and there continued to be protests and strikes against the government. During the months proceeding yet another election, there was more chaos because all the parties had a hard time agreeing to policies of the new election. Eventually, a state of emergency was marked and all political activities were prohibited while Fakhruddin Ahmed became the interim Prime Minister and a Lieutenant General Moeen Uddin Ahmed took over the government.
The military-supported government worked to dig through the corruption of Bangladesh during this time, and surprise surprise, both Hasina and Khaleda were charged with bribery and fraudulent activities. Hasina was even charged with a murder while she was visiting the United States at the time. The interim governmental administrative prevented Hasina from returning while trying to kick Khaleda out of the country as well (their attempt at getting rid of long-time leaders to take over!).Regardless, Hasina returned home to several thousands of greeters to defend herself. However, soon, Hasina was arrested by the state police at her home in July 2007, which was said to be a politically motivated arrest. The trials were ongoing until it was stopped due to Hasina’s health concerns that needed her to travel to the U.S. for treatment.
Hasina returned home again, deciding to take part in the election of 2008, promising a “Digital Bangladesh” by 2021. Her party and Hasina, once again, won the election and Hasina was sworn into office as the Prime Minister for the second time in January 2009. While she was in office, Hasina made Hussain Muhammad Ershad the President and continued to stand strong and firm through riots such as the 2009 Bangladesh Rifles Revolt and the 2012 Rakihine State Riots. Hasina became the Prime Minister for the third time after winning the 2014 election and now continues to lead Bangladesh in a democratic direction, fighting many kinds of freedom such as religion! No wonder she was ranked 47th on Forbes’ list of the 100 Most Powerful Women in the World.
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