Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohamad was on Thursday sworn in as the country’s prime minister, after his alliance won the general elections, ending the 61-year rule of the Barisan Nasional (or National Front) coalition.
The opposition alliance won 115 seats in the elections that were held on Wednesday. In the Dewan Rakyat, the lower house of the Malaysian Parliament, a party needs 112 seats for a majority.
Mahathir, now the oldest head of government in the world at 92, took his oath of office before Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V, the Malaysian monarch, at 9.57 pm local time (7.27 pm Indian Standard Time) in the Capital, Kuala Lumpur, The Star Online reported.
At a press conference earlier, Mahathir said he would appoint Wan Azizah as deputy prime minister once he takes oath. Apart from the Pakatan Harapan alliance, ten other MPs have also indicated their support for Mahathir.
The BBC had reported that Mahathir’s swearing-in may not be a smooth affair despite his win. However, the Istana Negara, the Malaysian monarch’s residence where Mahathir was sworn in, denied that it had delayed his oath-taking ceremony.
“His Majesty has faithfully carried out his duties and functions in accordance to the Federal Constitution in appointing Mahathir as prime minister,” said Comptroller of the Royal Household Datuk Wan Ahmad Dahlan Haji Ab Aziz, according to The Star Online.
Officials at the monarch’s residence said they had received a letter from Pakatan Harapan coalition leaders on Thursday afternoon, supporting the appointment of Mahathir as prime minister. An hour later, Malaysia’s Election Commission also sent Istana Negara the results.
Former Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Thursday that he “respected the verdict of the people”.