Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohamad will be sworn in as the world’s oldest elected leader on Thursday after his opposition alliance pulled off a stunning election win, ending six decades of rule by a coalition he once led.
Malaysians celebrated the 92-year-old’s unexpected victory over Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose popularity had plunged over rising living costs and in the wake of a multi-billion-dollar graft scandal at 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Mahathir led the Southeast Asian nation for 22 years and his unexpected return to the prime ministership ends the previously unbroken rule of Barisan Nasional (BN), the coalition that had governed Malaysia since independence from Britain in 1957.
“We are not seeking revenge … what we want is to restore the rule of law,” Mahathir said of Najib’s scandal-plagued rule.
Mahathir appeared jubilant and sprightly at a news conference claiming victory overnight, even joking with reporters, and will have an audience with Malaysia’s king later on Thursday.
The king will sign his letter of appointment as prime minister of Malaysia’s constitutional monarchy during a ceremony at the royal palace in the capital, Kuala Lumpur.
Najib is also expected to address the media at 9.45 am local time (0145 GMT). He has not spoken publicly since the results were declared but a member of his Cabinet said they would accept the will of the people.
The stunning election outcome was expected to ruffle financial markets that were expecting a comfortable win for Najib and the BN.