07:46 GMT +324 March 2019
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    Mahathir Mohamad, former Malaysian prime minister and opposition candidate for Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) reacts during a news conference after general election, in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, May 9, 2018

    Malaysian Opposition Wins Snap Election, Breaks 60-year Rule of Malay Coalition

    © REUTERS / Lai Seng Sin
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    The sudden victory of the opposition follows an ongoing corruption scandal involving the current Prime Minister Najib Razak, who has been accused of financial fraud by the media and politicians.

    The opposition alliance, led by ex-prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, won a snap election in Malaysia this Thursday, making the 92-year-old politician the oldest elected leader in the country's history.

    According to official results, Mahathir's coalition "Alliance of Hope" won 113 of the 222 seats in the Malaysian parliament, interrupting the decades-long rule of the Barisan Nasional (National Front), a right-wing coalition, which has led the country since its independence in 1957.

    Announcing his victory in Kuala Lumpur, Mahathir declared his coalition had won "not just a few votes, not just a few seats, but a very substantial majority", adding that he expected to be sworn in as prime minister this Thursday. He also stated later, that the new government will seek the release and pardon of opposition politician Anwar Ibrahim.

    According to the official statement, Malaysia's king, Sultan Muhammad V, has invitd Mohamad to form the next government.

    "His Majesty strongly supports and respects the democratic process and the wishes of his subjects," the statement said.

    Malaysia's prime minister Najib Razak concedes his defeat, saying he and his colleagues "accept the verdict of the people". However, as no single party won a majority in the election, Najib stated, that the country's king will have responsibility for appointing the next head of the government.

    "The national front will respect whatever decision is made by the king," he said. "I urge all Malaysians to be calm and to trust the king's wisdom to make the best choice."

    Mahathir returned to politics in 2015, in the wake of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal, when Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was accused by the local news portal Sarawak Report and British newspaper The Sunday Times of channeling over $700 million from 1MDB, a government-run strategic development company, to his personal bank accounts.

    Mahathir was Malaysian prime minister and the head of the Barisan Nasional coalition for 22 years, from 1981 until he stepped down in 2003.


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