Malaysia political crisis lengthens due to negotiations to form govt

Kuala Lumpur, Nov 23 (EFE).- The tight results of Saturday’s Malaysian elections, with no coalition obtaining a sufficient majority to form a government, lengthen the impasse in the country, which has had three prime ministers since 2018 and now depends on the hinge parties and the king’s decision.

Monarch Abdullah of Pahang has been holding meetings since Sunday with leaders of the main coalitions and hinge parties that could determine the winner, after the opposition Pakatan Harapan and conservative Perikatan Nasional parties claimed victory.

The final count of the votes left Pakatan Harapan and Perikatan Nasional with 82 and 73 seats, respectively, far from the 112 needed for an absolute majority, while the Barisan Nasional formation of current Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob suffered a historic defeat with just 30 seats.

After Barisan’s refusal to support either of the two coalitions with the most seats to form a government during meetings with the monarch, it summoned the rest of the country’s sultans Wednesday to a Thursday morning meeting to discuss options.

Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy whose nine of its 13 states and three territories are headed by sultans, who succeed the throne every five years according to the rotating system that governs the country. The nation became independent from the United Kingdom in 1957 and a Malaysian federation in 1963.

The king also met Wednesday with the leader of the Gabungan Sarawak party, which won 23 seats and usually supports the party with the most votes in the state from which it comes, in the midst of a frenzy of meetings to ensure its final decision is supported by the majority.

There is no deadline for this to take place, although political instability and the economic crisis make it urgent that a government be formed soon in the country of 32.78 million and a Muslim majority, mired in uncertainty since Mahathir Mohammad’s government collapsed in 2018.

What had been a promise of change – being the first time in history the country’s opposition won with Mahathir leading the party and defeating the United Malays National Organization – gave way to a period of high instability with two other prime ministers since the resignation of the nonagenarian.

That crisis continues without negotiations between parties bearing fruit.

The electoral defeat of the Barisan coalition in power until now, and therefore of UMNO, confirms the fall of a formation at the helm of the country until 2018, and that lost influence due largely to the scandals of corruption.

The billionaire embezzlement of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad fund, in particular, dug the group’s political grave and put former Prime Minister Najib Razak behind bars.

More than 900 candidates contested for 220 seats (officially 222, although the election of two was postponed due to the death of a candidate and flooding in two constituencies) in Malaysia’s closest elections. EFE


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