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In a shocking turn of events in the Malaysian election, political veteran Mahathir Mohamad has claimed victory over current Prime Minister Najib Razak. It marks a historic defeat for a ruling coalition that has never lost control of the country since independence in 1957. And it makes Mahathir the world's oldest elected leader at 92 years old.
>> We have in fact achieved a very substantial majority, not just a few votes. Not just a few cities, but a very substantial majority. Official results early Thursday showed his opposition alliance made up of multiple parties had won a simple majority of seats in parliament, that means he'll be returning to his post as prime minister, a position he previously held for 22 years.
Najib on Thursday said he accepted the verdict of the people, but as no single party had won the majority themselves he would wait for Malaysia's King to decide who would become the next prime minister. It was an unexpected win, polls are favorable to Najib's Barisan Nasional Coalition. But Najib who was once Mahathir's protege had seen a sharp decline in his popularity in recent years, mostly due to a major scandal in 2015 where billions of dollars were allegedly siphoned off from a state fund.
Mahathir who had retired, then returned to politics with one goal, to take down Najib. He switched political allegiances and joined the opposition. Even joining hands with jailed politician, Anwar Ibrahim, who was once his deputy prime minister then rival, before he was jailed on a sodomy charge.>> We are not seeking revenge.
>> Yeah.>> What we want to do is to restore the rule of law.>>
>> Mahathir has promised to seek a royal pardon for Anwar if they run the election. And once he's free, to step aside and let him be prime minister. Anwar was imprisoned in 2015 after another sodomy charge under Najib which he described as the politically motivated attempt to end his career.