Kuala Lumpur : Veteran Malaysian politician Mahathir Mohamad has become the world’s oldest leader after a shock victory in the country’s election, upending six decades of control by the ruling coalition.
The 92-year-old was sworn in on Thursday night by Malaysia’s constitutional ruler, King Muhammad V, following a momentous vote in which scandal-plagued incumbent Najib Razak was soundly beaten at the polls by his former mentor.
It’s a triumphant return to front-line Malaysian politics for Prime Minister Mahathir, who also ruled the country from 1981 until 2003.
He was sworn in by the Malaysian head of state at about 9:50 p.m. (9.50 a.m. ET). It followed a day of confusion over the status of Malaysia’s new government, with various times announced and then missed for Mahathir’s official appointment.
His car was seen driving into the palace ahead of a possible 5 p.m. meeting, only for it to leave again an hour and a half later.
But in a press statement issued on Thursday night, the palace said it had invited Mahathir to form a government and “strongly” denied the king had delayed the appointment.
“His Majesty the King strongly supports and respects the democratic process,” the statement said.