Khaleda Zia, widow of an assassinated president, was named on Tuesday the first woman prime minister of predominantly Muslim Bangladesh, state-run television said.

Zia, 46, took the reins of her centrist Bangladesh Nationalist Party in 1982, a year after her husband, Gen. Ziaur Rahman, was slain in a military coup.Also Tuesday, deposed President Hussain Muhammad Ershad pleaded not guilty to weapons charges. He appeared before a special tribunal which is also to hear charges that he amassed illegal wealth.

Zia was appointed by acting President Shahabuddin Ahmed, who also named 10 ministers and 21 junior ministers, all from Zia's party. The new government will be sworn in Wednesday, the television said.