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Malaysia's Anwar Ibrahim Becomes Prime Minister

Thu 24 Nov 2022 | 11:52 AM
Malaysia's Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim
Malaysia's Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim
Israa Farhan

Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has been appointed prime minister and will be sworn in by the king at 5 pm local time, according to the country’s palace on Thursday.

Saturday's general election ended in an unprecedented hung parliament with neither of the two main coalitions, one led by Anwar and the other by former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin, immediately able to secure enough seats in parliament to form a government.

Anwar's appointment culminates in a three-decade journey from heir apparent to convicted sodomy prisoner, to the longtime leader of the opposition.

The 75-year-old has been repeatedly denied the premiership despite coming close several times over the years: he was deputy prime minister in the 1990s and prime minister-in-waiting in 2018.

In between, he spent nearly a decade in prison for sodomy and corruption on what he says are politically motivated charges intended to end his career.

With 82 parliamentary seats, Anwar's Pakatan Harapan took the lead in Saturday's elections but fell short of the 112 seats needed for a majority.

The National Alliance, or National Alliance, led by former Prime Minister Muhyiddin, won 73 seats.

The alliance led by the United Malays National Organization, which has 30 seats, held the balance of power.

On Thursday, Umno's secretary-general Ahmed Maslan said the party's highest decision-making body has decided to support a unity government that is not led by Muhyiddin's camp, and that the party will accept any unity government or any other form of government decided by the king.

With the support of all 30 lawmakers in the Umno coalition, Anwar managed to get a majority.