Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim released after royal pardon

Pakatan Harapan intends for Anwar to be elected to Parliament and made prime minister following his pardon

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will be released as early as tomorrow following a full pardon from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

The 70-year-old Anwar was convicted of sodomy in 2015 in a case he said was aimed at crushing his alliance after making gains against Malaysia's long-ruling coalition government.

The pardon potentially paves the way for him to succeed the country's elderly new leader Mahathir Mohamad, who was the surprise victor over former Prime Minister Najib Razak in last week's parliamentary election.

Following the charge, Dr Mahathir sacked Anwar from Cabinet and it then triggered the formation of PKR and the reformasi movement.

Mahathir and Anwar are a political odd couple who have "hated each other politically" for two decades, James Chin, Director of the Asia Institute at the University of Tasmania, told CNN ahead of the election last week.

"We accept the transformation that we desired, especially the reformation that we wished to propose", she said to reporters after visiting Anwar at the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital here yesterday. He will meet with the king at the national palace and then speak to supporters at a rally on Wednesday evening. Party spokesman Fahmi Fadzil says he has been pardoned by the king.

Anwar is seeking a royal pardon on the grounds of "miscarriage of justice", which would reverse his conviction and make him eligible to actively participate in politics.

The former prime minister has been blocked from leaving the country and a complaint has been filed against him to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission alleging he personally blocked an investigation into the US$3.2bn 1MDB scandal.

Once seen as a potential future leader, he had been jailed on charges of sodomy and corruption after falling out with the government.

Anwar's wife, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, campaigned alongside Mahathir and was sworn in on Thursday as Malaysia's first deputy prime minister.

Mahathir and Anwar had put aside a longstanding rivalry to fight together to defeat Najib.

Anwar is set to replace Mahathir as prime minister under a deal the pair agreed to before the election, though no date has been set for that transfer of power.

Anwar must first win a seat in Parliament.



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