Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has just resigned from office, paving the way for a possible formation of a new government.
Mahathir said in a two-line statement that he had informed the country’s king of his resignation at 1pm Kuala Lumpur time (05:00 GMT) on Monday.
In a new development, Mahathir has also reportedly resigned from his own party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, according to Reuters citing three sources.
The surprise announcement comes amid speculation that 94-year-old Mahathir was attempting to form a new ruling coalition that would exclude his promised successor, Anwar Ibrahim who accused the party of plotting to form a new government with the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), the former ruling party ousted in 2018.
It’s yet unclear if Mahathir could form another government with the support of other parties.
On Sunday night allies of Mahathir and some members of Anwar’s People’s Justice Party (PKR), as well as other Parliament members and those from the opposition, UMNO reportedly held talks in Kuala Lumpur, fuelling speculation of a new governing coalition.
Mahathir Mohamad, who was appointed prime minister in 1981, retired in 2003, and returned to the office in 2018.