Malaysia’s veteran opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, has been sworn in as the country’s new Prime Minister (PM), after several days of post-election deadlock.
The new leader was appointed by King Sultan Abdullah, after elections over the weekend resulted in an unprecedented hung parliament.
Neither Mr Anwar nor ex-premier, Muhyiddin Yassin, had won the simple majority needed to form a government. It is not immediately clear who Mr Anwar will go into coalition with.
“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,” said a statement released by the palace earlier on Thursday.
The new PM was sworn in by the king in the late afternoon.
Mr Anwar’s Pakatan Harapan (PH) party, which won the biggest share of seats in Saturday’s election, did not have enough seats on its own to form a government.
It took five days of intense negotiations to reach an agreement on a new government, during which time various combinations of parties and forms of alliances were discussed, and then rejected.
Many of the political leaders have personal and ideological differences which made it hard to find a workable majority. In the end, it was left to Malaysia’s constitutional monarch, King Abdullah, to summon all the leaders to the palace to try to find sufficient common ground.
It is not clear what form the new government will take; whether a formal coalition of parties, a minority government with other parties offering a confidence and supply agreement, or a national unity government including all the main parties.
The decision brings to an end remarkable political odyssey for Anwar Ibrahim a brilliant orator and, 25 years ago, a fast-rising star everyone expected would replace then-prime minister, Mahathir Mohammad.