Anwar Ibrahim named Malaysia’s 10th prime minister

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SINGAPORE — The wait is over. And this is the return.

Almost a week after Malaysia’s general election resulted in a hung parliament, longtime opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim The Southeast Asian country won enough support among various parties to form its next government, preventing the rise of more conservative political forces.

Thursday’s nomination of Anwar as prime minister temporarily ended a tumultuous election season that saw the fall of political titan Mahathir Mohamad, surprising gains for a far-right Islamic party and perceived allies. The endless fighting between, in large part caused by Disgraced former prime minister Najib Razak was convicted on charges including money laundering and abuse of power.

After consulting with state-level rulers earlier in the day, Malaysia’s king said Thursday afternoon that he had approved Anwar’s appointment as the country’s 10th prime minister, and Anwar was sworn in hours later. . In Malaysia, a parliamentary democracy with a constitutional monarchy, the monarch officially names the head of government.

The appointment, contested by some opponents, marks a dramatic comeback for Anwar, 75, an international figure whose political rise, fall and comeback spans generations.

Anwar founded the country’s reformist political movement, which has held rallies for social justice and equality since the 1990s. He is also known as a supporter of Muslim democracy, and has previously admired Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was once seen as a moderate democrat. Islam is the state religion in Muslim-majority Malaysia, which has important economic and security ties with the United States, but other faiths are widely practiced.

This Malaysian politician was jailed and condemned. He is now at the pinnacle of power.

A former deputy prime minister under Mahathir, who was later regarded as his bitter rival, Anwar spent decades trying to reach the country’s top political post before they reconciled. Along the way, he gained the support and friendship of international leaders such as former US Vice President Al Gore. He also served two lengthy prison terms on corruption and corruption charges — charges that Anwar and his supporters say were politically motivated.

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Anwar’s multi-ethnic reformist alliance Pakatan Harapan (PH), or Alliance of Hope, won 82 seats after last week’s election. The coalition was the largest single bloc, but is still several dozen seats shy of the 112 it needs to form a majority. He ran against the right-wing coalition Perikatan Nasional (PN), which won 73 seats, to convince voters – as well as the country’s king, Sultan Abdullah of Pahang – that he should form the next government. has a mandate.

Anwar’s accession was made possible after Barisan Nasional, the conservative coalition that has ruled Malaysia for most of its post-independence history, said it would not participate in a PN-led government. Barisan Nasional won 30 seats in the latest polls, putting it in the kingmaking position.

Analysts say that while Anwar has emerged victorious, he now faces a tough challenge in uniting the country’s divided electorate.

“Polarization [in Malaysia] remains strong,” said Bridget Welsh, a research associate with the University of Nottingham’s Asia Research Institute-Malaysia. She said Anwar has a strong image globally, but a “weak mandate” at home. .

Anwar opposes the race-based affirmative action policies that characterized past Barisan Nasional-led governments. The policies, which favor Malay Muslims, are credited by some analysts with creating a broad-based middle class in the country of 32.5 million. But critics blame the laws for fueling ethnic hatred, driving young people from Malaysia’s Indian and Chinese minorities out of the country, and fueling systemic corruption.

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In the run-up to the election, PN leader and former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin made anti-Semitic claims that Anwar’s coalition was working with Jews and Christians to “Christianize” Malaysia.

Malaysian Council of Churches Condemned Mohiuddin’s remarks and Anwar described his rival’s comments as disappointing. “I request Muhyiddin to be a mature leader and not use racial propaganda to divide the multi-reality in Malaysia,” he said on Twitter.

After Anwar’s appointment was announced, Muhyiddin held a news conference where he called out his rival to prove that he had the requisite numbers to rule. He claimed that his alliance has the support of 115 members of parliament, which would constitute a majority.

Regardless of whether they supported him, the appointment of a new prime minister allows Malaysians to put an end to a two-year political crisis that has seen the resignation of two prime ministers, allegations of power-grabbing and A snap election in the middle of Tropics was included. Monsoon season of the country. After the polls closed and it became clear that no single bloc could win a majority alone, confusion spread over who would lead the country. The king called party leaders to the palace for hours of closed-door debate, pushing back his decision day after day.

“We have been waiting for some stability to restore democracy for a while,” said Adrian Perera, a labor rights activist from the western state of Selangor. Voters are still eager to see what coalition Anwar has forged and how power-sharing will work, “but for now, it’s a relief for everyone.”

The deputy head of Anwar’s party, Rafizi Ramli, said on Thursday that the new prime minister would lead a “coalition government”.

He added that we all need to move forward and learn to work together to rebuild Malaysia. A statement He urged Malaysians to reduce political tensions by avoiding “inflammatory” messages or gatherings.

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Analysis: Most people do not know enough about Malaysia and its government. Here’s what you should understand.

One of the biggest surprises of the election was the surge in support for the Islamic Party of Malaysia, known as PAS, which increased its seats in parliament from 18 to 49., Supporters of eventual Islamic rule in Malaysia and have emerged as a power broker in recent years, forming partnerships with other parties that support pro-Malay Muslim policies.

While Anwar’s coalition will govern, PAS will be the single largest party in the lower house of parliament.

PAS leader Abdul Hadi Ong before Anwar’s swearing-in on Thursday evening Posted a statement He thanked the voters for their support. He said that people are rapidly accepting the 71-year struggle of the party in Malaysia.

University of Tasmania professor James Chen, who studies Malaysian politics, said he was “surprised” by PAS’s electoral success, which he sees as a reflection of the wider rise of political Islam in Malaysia.

Chen said Malaysia and neighboring Indonesia have long identified themselves as moderate Islamic countries, but that may now change. He said PAS made its strongest gains in rural areas, and there was early evidence that it had gained support from new voters, including young Malaysians. Liberal and non-Malay Muslim voters now worry that a strong PAS is poised to expand its influence, including on the country’s education policies.

“I knew PAS had a lot of support in Malay hearts … but I still didn’t know they could spread so fast,” Chen said. “No one did.”

Katrina Ang reported from Seoul and Emily Ding from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Hariraj in Seoul contributed to this report.



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