UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, 94, submitted his resignation to the king on Monday, according to what his office announced after an attempt by his political partners to topple the government and hinder the possibility that his expected successor, Anwar Ibrahim, would replace him.
The office said in a statement that Mahathir “sent a letter of resignation from the post of Prime Minister of Malaysia.”
The surprise step came after major political developments in the last twenty-four hours, which saw an attempt by Anwar’s opponents within his coalition, the “Alliance of Hope” and political opponents, to form a new government.
It seems that the coalition that won a historic victory in the 2018 elections would have excluded Anwar Ibrahim and the majority of deputies in his party, which would not have prevented him from becoming prime minister soon.
It is known that the relationship was a storm between Anwar Ibrahim and Mahathir Muhammad, the oldest world leader, but they reconciled before the 2018 elections. Mahathir has repeatedly promised that he will hand over power to his former opponent, but he has refused to set a date so far.
The next steps are not clear.
However, on Monday afternoon, Anwar Ibrahim will meet the king of the country, who enjoys a special protocol role, but he approves the appointment of the Prime Minister. Anwar Ibrahim may seek to persuade him that he has enough parliamentary support to form a government, according to what observers have said.
It seems that the attempt to form a new government faded on Monday morning, before Mahathir’s office announced his resignation in a letter addressed to the king at one o’clock in the afternoon.
The next steps are not clear.
But Mahathir’s “Persato” party has also announced that it will leave the “Alliance of Hope”, which may indicate that it will also try to form a government.
The People’s Justice Party headed by Anwar Ibrahim had announced earlier the dismissal of two of the party’s opponents in the party, Muhammad Azmin Ali and Zariddin Qariddin, who are considered among the main figures who are leading the attempt to form a new government to disrupt his access to this position.
On Monday afternoon, Anwar Ibrahim meets the king of the country, who enjoys a special protocol role, but he approves the appointment of the prime minister. Anwar Ibrahim may seek to persuade him that he has enough parliamentary support to form a government, according to what observers have said.
“If Anwar owns the majority, he will be the next prime minister,” Azmi Hassan, a political analyst at Malaysia Technological University, told AFP.
However, he added, “But with the Persato party out of the coalition, it is unlikely that it will win the majority.”
– A new alliance? –
Anwar had allied himself with his former opponent Mahathir Muhammad ahead of the 2018 elections to topple the government of Najib Razak, which was involved in a widespread corruption scandal.
They led their coalition to an unexpected victory over the ruling Malaysia coalition for six continuous decades, and Mahathir agreed to hand over power to Anwar Ibrahim after he left power.
However, Mahathir repeatedly refused to set a date for the handover of power to Anwar Ibrahim, which led to tensions within the four-party coalition. Mahathir had previously served as prime minister between 1981 and 2003.
The difficult relationship between them has dominated the political scene in Malaysia in the last two decades.
It was expected in the past that Anwar, who was finance minister, would succeed Mahathir as prime minister, but the latter expelled him after a dispute between them over the solution to the country’s financial crisis.
Anwar was arrested and imprisoned after being convicted of sodomy and corruption, but he was released from prison and succeeded in unifying the ranks of the fragmented opposition and turning it into a force capable of standing up to the government that has been in power for a long time.
The government’s popularity declined and the coalition lost several local elections after being criticized for not protecting the rights of Malay Muslims, who make up the majority in the country, and not moving quickly to adopt reforms.
Their opponents stressed that politicians of Chinese origin now take control of the alliance. The issue of ethnicities and ethnicities is a very sensitive topic in Malaysia, which about 60% of its population owes Islam, but also includes citizens of Chinese and Indian descent.
Several parties expressed outrage that a democratically elected government would be replaced without elections.
A group of activists and academics said in a statement that the people “will not accept and will not cooperate with a government + formed behind the scenes” to achieve the selfish goals of some representatives in order to protect their interests.
Some called for early elections, although political parties appear to be inclined to form a new government without elections.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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