Fractious Party Politics Threatens to Upend a Succession Plan in Malaysia

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, right, and president of the People’s Justice Party, Anwar Ibrahim, during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, June 1, 2018 (AP photo by Vincent Thian).
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, right, and president of the People’s Justice Party, Anwar Ibrahim, during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, June 1, 2018 (AP photo by Vincent Thian).
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Malaysia’s veteran 94-year-old prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, returned to power in May 2018 after promising voters that his archfoe-turned-ally, Anwar Ibrahim, would succeed him partway through his five-year term. Mahathir’s Pakatan Harapan coalition agreed on the succession plan ahead of its upset victory over Najib Razak’s scandal-plagued government in the 2018 elections. Mahathir himself said shortly after being sworn in that he would lead for an “initial stage, lasting one or two years,” before stepping down. Yet as the two-year mark approaches, no date has been set for that handover and calls for a transition are growing louder. Mahathir’s proposed […]

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