Nov. 24 (UPI) — Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was sworn in as Malaysia’s new prime minister on Thursday during a ceremony at the country’s national palace in the capital of Kuala Lumpur.
Anwar, who has been running for office for years, was appointed by as the country’s 10th prime minister by Malaysian King, Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah.
Malaysia has been in a hung parliament since its most-recent elections, complicated by the fact that the two coalitions that earned the most votes refused to work out a compromise while the third-ranked party remained on the sidelines.
The results led to the first hung parliament in Malaysian history. The political upheaval was several years in the making after the powerful United Malays National Organization party was involved in a financial scandal, leading to the downfall of former Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Anwar’s coalition garnered the highest number of votes but failed to obtain an absolute majority. That led to negotiations between the king and the country’s nine state monarchs.
“After going through the views of the Malay rulers, His Majesty has consented to appointing Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as Malaysia’s 10th prime minister,” Royal Comptroller Fadli Shamsuddin said in a statement issued Thursday.
The 75-year-old Awnar has twice served as the country’s deputy prime minister and finance minister in the 1990s under Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
Two separate stints in prison have also seen him spend nearly a decade behind bars.
After being appointed to the post in 1993, Anwar was removed as deputy premier five years later over controversial abuse of power and sodomy charges following a falling out with then-prime minister Mohamad.
That led to street protests and the birth of his current Parti Keadilan Rakyat, which he now leads.
He was jailed again in 2015 for sodomy, but was granted a royal pardon and released in May 2018 after his party won the general election.
“This trust will be borne with humility and responsibility. I will carry out this solemn duty with my team guided by the will and desire of the people,” Anwar said in a tweet after he was sworn in.