The new cabinet formed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has certainly left people surprised. But more than the surprise has been that unmistakable sense of happiness in knowing that a very large number of new faces have made it to the council of ministers, the idea being that in a broad sense of the meaning political leadership is quietly but surely passing into the hands of a new generation of politicians. To be sure, a good number of veterans are yet around, which is again natural. But the eyes of the nation will now be on those new people who have been given responsibilities in government.

The convention in politics is that a political party must cross two hurdles before judgment on its performance can be delivered. In the present instance, the Awami League by winning a consecutive third term in office, has overcome the first hurdle. The second hurdle will be crossed when the new cabinet demonstrates its capacity to govern to the expectations of the nation. And governance from here on will mean the determination and ability of the government to ensure law and order, the rule of law, a strengthening of institutions and indeed do everything which will deepen our democracy further as we look to the next five years under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her cabinet.

Those who have not been included in the new cabinet but were there until the other day are deserving of the nation's gratitude for presiding over their ministries at a critical time in the nation's history. Not all of them were able to perform well, of course, but that all of them did do their best to consolidate democracy and ensure public welfare cannot be denied. Our gratitude goes to them and with that we also take the liberty of suggesting, on behalf of our fellow citizens, that as lawmakers they will continue to offer their thoughts on the best means of carrying forward the development-oriented programmes of the government. In parliamentary discussions, their views will carry weight because of the experience they accumulated in government in the past five years. Again, it ought to be for the new ministers, ministers of state and deputy ministers to seek the advice of these senior leaders and thereby add substance to their own leadership of the ministries whose responsibilities they have been entrusted with.

We wish our new cabinet well. We expect the entirety of it to carry forward the dreams of political pluralism which were the supreme objective of the nation during the War of Liberation back in 1971. Tolerance, liberalism, a willingness to hear the other person's point of view, a duty to respond to people's wishes and complaints are all part of that objective. Let them be upheld by this government as it takes off for the five years ahead.

By Editor-in-Chief -Enayetullah Khan

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