Netizen 24 MYS: Why Mahathir has not been sworn in yet: A constitutional explanation

By On May 09, 2018

Why Mahathir has not been sworn in yet: A constitutional explanation

Wan Azizah with Mahthir

Speaking at a live press conference that ended in the past hour, Malaysia’s caretaker prime minister, Najib Razak, says that his coalition accepts the verdict of the people.

Surrounded by a somber group of his closest allies, including Deputy Prime Minister Hamidi, and the defense minister, Hishamuddin, he stopped short of announcing a the victory for Mahathir, saying only instead that it was the decision of the Agong (the Malaysian sultan who serves as head of the monarchy on a rotating basis) as to who the next prime minister would be.

Confused? Yep.

Here it goes. When the opposition ran against Barisan Nasional in this election, they were not a formally recognized coalition . No, there is apparently bureaucratic paperwork that goes into that, and parties within the opposition “coalition” like PKR and DAP have not entered into a formalized union as of yet.

As it stands, last night’s results have indicated that parliament looks something like this:
PKR: 104
BN: 79
DAP: 9
PAS: 18

No single party has the 112 seats needed to declare victory, so technically we have a hung parliament, but this is essentially only because the opposition coalition was never formalized.

As per the constitution, the leader of the party with the most seats will be invited to meet with the Agong, who then has the power appoint them prime minister. They will then go and form the necessary coalition with other parties in order to get the 112 minimum seats required.

The party with the most seats is the PKR, led by Dr Wan Azizah, whose husband Anwar Ibrahim is currently jailed under sodomy charges. It is she who will be tasked wit h forming a new government.

She also possesses the power to abdicate her position as leader of the coalition, and appoint Mahathir. That will require the consensus of their fellow coalition members to do this, and only then will Mahathir be sworn in as PM.

So there you have it â€" constitutionally speaking, it is Wan Azizah who will meet with the Agong, who will accept her appointment as PM to form a government, and who will then pass the baton to Mahathir.

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