Lawmakers in Bangladesh have approved a controversial measure that sets aside a fixed number of parliamentary seats for women.Sunday's constitutional amendment passed with only one dissenting vote when members of the opposition Awami League walked out in protest.
The amendment creates 45 new seats reserved for women. But they will not be elected to the posts. Instead, they will be appointed in proportion to each party's showing in the last election.
Opponents call it a power grab that will do little to further the position of women. The government says the amendmentfulfills Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia's promise to increase women's political involvement.
Only a handful of women hold legislative seats, including the prime minister and the opposition leader.
Another major provision under the amendment was the mandatory preservation and display of portraits of the president and the prime minister in government and other public offices and institutions. Under the adopted amendments, the retirement age of Supreme Court judges was raised to 67 from 65, of chairman and members of the Public Service Commission to 65 from 62, and of the Comptroller and Auditor General to 65 or five years after his appointment to that position.