Marcos congratulates 'good friend' Anwar
KUALA LUMPUR (3rd UPDATE) — Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has been named prime minister, the palace said in a statement Thursday, ending a days-long political impasse after inconclusive polls.
"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," the statement said.
Ibrahim was subsequently sworn in as prime minister before the king in Kuala Lumpur later in the day.
"I, Anwar Ibrahim, after being appointed to hold the position of Prime Minister, solemnly swear that I will honestly fulfil that duty with all my efforts and that I will devote my true loyalty to Malaysia," the 75-year-old said while dressed in traditional Malaysian clothing.
At the weekend election, Anwar's Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) 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, a coalition of conservative ethnic Malay Muslim-centric parties, grabbed 73.
Neither of the two main political alliances was able to win a majority of the 222-seat lower house.
Muhyiddin, who was backed by an Islamist party, later told reporters that since no bloc had enough numbers, the king had initially asked him and Anwar to form a "unity government".
Malaysia's king, Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah, had summoned the two rivals in a bid to break the deadlock.
The former ruling party United Malays National Organization said Thursday it would not back a rival political alliance to Anwar's to form a unity government.
UMNO, the linchpin of the National Front coalition popularly known as BN, played a key role in breaking the deadlock after Saturday's general election ended in a hung parliament.
King Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin has ordered leaders of the two major party alliances to find ways to form a unity government as he held a series of meetings with them over the past two days.
Malaysia's nine leaders that form the Conference of Rulers rotate among themselves to be king for five years.
As a constitutional monarchy, the royals traditionally play a symbolic role. But the political imbroglio that has followed the election that produced no clear winner has forced the monarchy to break with tradition and play an adjudicatory role.
UMNO issued a statement Thursday saying that it unanimously supported the king's call for a unity government "that is not led by Perikatan Nasional (the National Alliance)".
But UMNO did not explicitly express its support for Anwar's multi-ethnic Pakatan Harapan or Alliance of Hope.
MARCOS CONGRATULATES ANWAR
In a statement, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr congratulated Anwar, describing him as a "good friend."
"I look forward to the stability that his leadership will provide Malaysia and the region," he said.
"My personal and official congratulations."
© Agence France-Presse and Kyodo News