Malaysia’s Premier, Mahathir Mohamad, Is Ousted in a Surprising Turn

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By Hannah Beech
Feb. 29, 2020

Mahathir Mohamad, 94, has dominated Malaysian politics for decades.

He was the country’s longest-serving prime minister, in office from 1981 to 2003. He was also its shortest-serving, having stepped out of retirement in 2018 to boot out a kleptocratic government, only to resign (briefly) this past week.

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Now Malaysians are contemplating a future without Mr. Mahathir, who was replaced as prime minister on Sunday, a day after the country’s constitutional monarch deemed that he lacked majority support from lawmakers. Mr. Mahathir was replaced by Muhyiddin Yassin, a veteran nationalist politician aligned with the corruption-tainted alliance that Mr. Mahathir defeated just two years ago.
It was a dramatic cap to a week full of roller-coaster twists, hairpin turns and enough whiplash alliance reversals to leave political analysts dizzied.

On Monday, after his governing coalition, called the Alliance of Hope, collapsed under the weight of internal rivalries and ideological contradictions, Mr. Mahathir resigned, but the king quickly named him as interim prime minister.

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