King appoints Anwar as Malaysia PM

Malaysia’s royals pick the long-time opposition leader to be the new premier

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AFP) — Malaysia’s perennial opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was named prime minister on Thursday, ending a days-long political impasse after inconclusive polls.

His ascension — making him the country’s fourth leader in as many years — caps a turbulent political life for Anwar, during which he served jail time on corruption and sodomy charges.

“After taking into consideration the views of Their Royal Highnesses the Malay Rulers, His Majesty has given consent to appoint Anwar Ibrahim as the 10th Prime Minister of Malaysia,” read a statement from the royal palace.

The 75-year-old reformist leader was scheduled to be sworn-in at 5 p.m. (0900 GMT).

At the weekend election, Anwar’s Pakatan Harapan coalition won the most seats, 82, on an anti-graft message — but fell short of the required 112-seat majority.

Former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s Perikatan Nasional (National Alliance) bloc had grabbed 73.

Muhyiddin, who was backed by an Islamist party, told reporters Tuesday that since no bloc had enough numbers, the king had initially asked him and Anwar to form a “unity government.”

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