Mahathir Mohamad: Malaysian prime minister in shock resignation

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Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad has resigned in a surprise move that could unravel the ruling coalition.

The resignation of Mr Mahathir, 94, comes amid rumours that he may form a new coalition without his designated successor, Anwar Ibrahim.

The world’s oldest elected leader returned to power in 2018.

In a surprise victory, he ousted then-prime minister Najib Razak, who is on trial charged with taking millions of dollars from a government wealth fund.

The Prime Minister’s Office said the letter of resignation to the king was submitted at 13:00 local time (05:00 GMT). No other details were included in the statement.

It is not clear who will be the next prime minister.

No group of parties has sufficient MPs to form a government – so Malaysia’s constitutional monarch will play an important role now, either inviting a political leader to form a new administration, or if that fails, calling a fresh general election.

Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad (R) raises up Anwar Ibrahim's hand
Image captionMr Mahathir and Mr Anwar (left) have a complicated political relationship

Mr Mahathir has also resigned from Bersatu, the political party of which he was chairman.

Bersatu had been part of the governing Pakatan Harapan alliance, which he joined in 2018 together with Mr Anwar, and which won the 2018 vote, ending more than six decades of rule by the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.

On Sunday, Mr Anwar accused Mr Mahathir and his party of being “traitors”, saying they had plans to form a new government, presumably without him.

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