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Malaysia's king summons Mahathir amid showdown with Anwar for PM

  • News Desk

    Reuters

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia   /   Thu, February 27, 2020   /   11:11 am
Malaysia's king summons Mahathir amid showdown with Anwar for PM Malaysia’s former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad waves as he leaves the National Palace in Kuala Lumpur on Feb. 24, 2020. Mahathir resigned February 24 in a move analysts said appeared to be an effort to form a new coalition and block the succession of leader-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim. (AFP/Mohd Rasfan)

Malaysia's king summoned Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday, as the country waits for an end to the political chaos caused by his shock resignation as prime minister amid an intense power struggle.

Decades-old political rivals Mahathir, 94, and Anwar Ibrahim, 72, have both sought the prime minister's job, leaving the king to decide who governs the country next or whether fresh elections should be called.

Mahathir, who agreed to act as interim prime minister after resigning earlier this week amid political maneuvering between his coalition and the opposition, on Wednesday proposed a unified administration without political party allegiances.

A spokesman for Mahathir's office said Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah had called him for a meeting at 11 a.m. The spokesman did not know why.

The king has met all the 222 elected members of parliament over two days in a bid to end the crisis, which comes as Malaysia faces a flagging economy and the impact of the new coronavirus.

The resignation of Mahathir broke apart a coalition with Anwar that had scored a surprise election victory in 2018, and was not part of a pre-election promise that Mahathir would eventually cede power to Anwar.

Anwar said on Wednesday he was opposed to forming a "backdoor government" and that three parties from the former Pakatan Harapan ruling coalition had proposed his name to the king as candidate for prime minister.

"We wait for the decision of the king," he told a news conference.