Executive Body of Bangladesh

Executive Body of Bangladesh


  • Introduction
  • Background
  • Structure of Executive
  • Current Executive Body
  • Function of Executive
  • The Status and Power of the President
  • The Status and Power of the Prime Minister
  • Limitation of the Executive


The Government of People’s Republic of Bangladesh is consisted of three branches.

  • Executive Branch – Represented by the President, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Bangladesh
  • Legislature Branch – Represented by the Jatiya Sangsad (National Parliament)
  • Judiciary Branch – Represented by the Supreme Court of Bangladesh

Executive Branch

The Executive Branch regulates the governance of the state, conduct official and administrative functions, maintains law and order and implements overall resolutions of the state. In a greater sense, the executive consists of all administrative employees including the President, the Cabinet, the Government Officials, the Security, Law and Order maintaining agencies, the Diplomats, the Officers and even a Chowkidar (a Village Watchman) altogether.


Executive under the Proclamation of Independence (10 April, 1971)

  • All powerful Presidential Executive
  • President had both Executive and Legislative power
  • President was powered to appoint the Prime Minister and other Ministers
  • The power to summon and dissolve the assembly was with President
  • Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was made the President of the Republic
  • The Vice-President Syed Nazrul Islam was to exercise all the powers and fulfil all the duties in the absent of the President

Executive under the Provisional Constitution Order (11 January, 1972)

  • Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman proclaimed a provisional constitution order on 11 January, 1972 using his legislative power under the Proclamation of Independence. The Presidential form of Government was changed to the Parliamentary form of Government under this order.
  • The key features of the order was as follows:
  • There shall be a Cabinet of Ministers with the Prime Minister as the Head
  • The President shall, in exercise of all his functions, act in accordance with the advise of the Prime Minister
  • The President shall commission as Prime Minister a member of the Constituent Assembly who commands the confidence of the majority of the members of the Constituent Assembly.
  • All other Ministers, Ministers of State and Deputy Ministers shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister.

 Executive under the different Amendments of Constitution

  • 1972 Constitution – The key features of Executive in the Provisional Constitution (1972) was retained
  • Fourth Amendment (1975) – The Presidential form of Government replaced the Parliamentary System, A one party system was introduced and the powers of the Jatiya Sangsad were curtailed.
  • Fifth Amendment (1979) – The Presidential form of Government was retained, multi party system was revived. The President assumed the position of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed forces, chief executive and chief legislative initiator through his power to address the Jatiya Sangsad and dissolve it.
  • Ninth Amendment (1989) – The type of executive with all powerful presidency was retained. The presidency tenure is restricted to two consecutive terms of five years each. The executive was more of a resemblance to that of the United States.
  • Twelfth Amendment (1991) -  Once again the Parliamentary Executive was restored and it retained all the executive features of 1972 constitution.

 Structure of Executive Body

Part IV of the Constitution dealt with the Executive Structure

The President

President serves as the Head of the State of the Republic and is elected by members of the Jatiya Sangsad. President only act with the advice of the Prime Minister, with the exception of the appointment of the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice. The President has the power to grant pardons and to commute or suspend the sentences of individuals convicted in a court. The President is limited to serving two 5-year terms in office, regardless of whether they are consecutive or not.

The Prime Minister and The Cabinet

The Prime Minister is the Head of the Cabinet. The true executive power of the Republic is exercised by the Prime Minister. The President appoints the Prime Minister among the member of the parliament who appears to command the confidence of the Jatiya Sangsad. The other cabinet members are selected by the Prime Minister and appointed by the President.

Local Government

Republic has democratically elected government in every administrative unit. The powers exercised by the Local Government is delegated by Parliament.

The Defence Service

The President is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed forces of Bangladesh. Parliament by law provide for the regulation of the defence services, including the maintenance of the defence services, the grating of commissions, the appointment of chiefs of staff of the defence services and the discipline and other matters relating to the defence services. Parliament reserves the right to declare war.

The Attorney General

President appoints a Justice of the Supreme Court as Attorney General. The Attorney General is entitled to attend the proceedings of any courts in the Republic.

 Function of Executive

The function carried out by the executive branch of the government are:

  • Administrative
  • Legislative
  • Military Functions
  • Foreign Relations
  • Financial Functions

 The Status and Power of the President

The President is the Head of the State according to the constitution, and thus hold the highest status in the state. The President takes precedence over all other persons in the state and exercises the powers.

Powers and Duties of President:

Appointments Powers:

  • The prime minister and his/her Cabinet, with the limitation that the prime minister must be a parliamentarian who holds the confidence of the majority of the House. The president can also dismiss a member of Cabinet upon the request of the prime minister.
  • The chief justice and other judges of the court.
  • The Bangladesh Election Commission, including the chief.

Prerogative of Mercy:

The President has the prerogative of mercy by the constitution, which allows him to grant a pardon to anybody, overriding any court verdict in Bangladesh.

Parliamentary and Legislative Powers:

  • The President summons the Parliament.
  • The president can refuse to assent to any bill passed by the parliament and can send it back for review.
  • A bill is enacted only after the President assents to it.
  • But when the bill is passed again by the parliament, if the president further fail or refuse to assent a bill, after a certain period of days, the bill will be automatically transformed into law and will be considered as assented by the president.
  • The President can adjourn and dissolve the parliament on the advise of the Prime Minister.

Chancellor at universities:

The position of chancellor at universities is always held by the president of the country under the Private University Act 1992, although the position of chancellor in public universities is not fixed for the president under any acts or laws, but it has been a custom so far to name the President as Chancellor of all state universities thus established.

Ordinance making Power:

The President can promulgate ordinance when it is required immediate necessary action, and any of this promulgation will be enforced as an Act of the Parliament.

Financial Powers and Functions:

The bill involves expenditure from public money is introduced into the parliament only with the recommendation of the President.

The expenditure from the Consolidated Fund for supplementary or excess grants is authorized by the President.

Proclamation of Emergency Power:

In case of grave emergency in which the security or economic life of Bangladesh, or any part thereof is threatened by war or external aggression or internal disturbance, the President can issue a Proclamation of Emergency, although such proclamation requires its validity and a prior counter signature of the Prime Minister.

 The Status and Power of the Prime Minister

The Prime Minister of Bangladesh is the head of the Government in the Parliamentary form. He/She is the chief executive the Government. He/She is the leader of the parliament, chief of the cabinet, and appoints the council of the Ministers.

Administrative and Executive Powers:

  • All types of executive powers are conducted and regulated by the Prime Minister in the name of the President.
  • The prime minister appoints the Ministers and distributes offices among them.
  • All actions relating to justice, finance, ministry of foreign affairs and administration of the government are conducted with the advice and views of the Prime Minister.
  • The Prime Minister appoints the high government officials with the consent of the President.

Legislative Power:

Prime Minister plays a vital role to legislation. As the patroniser of the ruling party, the legislative actions of the parliament revolves around him/her.

Financial Powers:

The annual budget is prepared by the Finance Minister with the advice and directive of the Prime Minister. The financial policies of the Prime Minister reflect in the budget presented by the Financial Minister.

The fund for meeting the administrative expenditure is granted by the President with the advice of the Prime Minister.

Role of Prime Minister as the Principle Spokesman of the Nation:

  • Acts as the Principle Spokesman of the Nation.
  • Represents the country to the world.
  • Informs the nation of any national crisis.
  • Issues statement on behalf of the state.

 The Limitation of the Executive Body of Bangladesh

The Executive Body of Bangladesh has the following limitations:

      Prime Minister oriented executive body.

      Highly centralized government system.

      Highly politicized government function.

      Ineffective local government system.

      The limited exercise of Presidential power.

      Lack of proper practice of constitution.

      Corruption in several government sectors.

      Improper and Partial role of various organizations.

      Apathy to change bureaucratic manner.

      Lack of proper cooperation and coordination in several sectors.


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