Malaysian prime minister dissolves parliament, calls snap elections

Singapore, Oct 10 (EFE).- Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Monday dissolved the parliament, paving the way for early national elections to be held within 60 days, after a prolonged political crisis in the country that has continued for more than two years.

“With this announcement, the mandate is returned to the people,” Ismail said in a televised speech aired by local broadcasters, as he announced that the parliament stood dissolved with immediate effect from Monday.

“The people’s mandate is a powerful antidote for the country to manifest political stability and create a strong, stable and respected government after the general election,” he added.

Ismail is the third prime minister of Malaysia since the 2018 elections, won by veteran politician Mahathir Mohamed’s Pakatan Harapan coalition.

When Mahathir resigned in February 2020 due to differences within the alliance, the power return in the hands of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO).

On Monday, Ismail said that the upcoming elections would “discredit” those questioning the government’s legacy.

The current PM succeeded Muhyiddin Yassin as PM after the latter was forced to resign in August 2021 due to the UMNO withdrawing support, amid widespread criticism of the government’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis.

Ismail met Monarch (sultan) Abdullah of Pahang on Sunday – who had sworn him in last year – before announcing the parliament’s dissolution.

Elections are expected to be held soon, before the monsoon season that brings rains and flooding in December.

The polls are aimed at ending the political crisis that has affected the country since Mahathir’s resignation.

The ruling UMNO may have backed early elections due to to fears that waiting more – with its term set to end in September 2023 – could harm its chances due to the possible deterioration of the economy.

Since Malaysia’s independence from the British in 1957, the UMNO has continuously been in power except the two-year period under Mahathir’s premiership.

The polls have been announced even as former prime minister and erstwhile leader of UMNO, Najib Razak, is serving a 12-year prison sentence on corruption charges dating back to his government between 2009 and 2019.

Najib was convicted of embezzlement linked to the state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad in a corruption scandal worth $4.5 billion.

Analysts have not ruled out Najib being granted a royal pardon and making a return to politics in the future, depending on his party’s fortunes and decisions.

The Election Commission is set to meet immediately to discuss the prime ministerial candidates and decide a polling date. EFE


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