Former Malaysian PM Mahatir Mohammad named opposition candidate for Premiership

Former Malaysian PM Mahatir Mohammad named opposition candidate for Premiership
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ISLAMABAD - Malaysia's opposition alliance named former premier Mahathir Mohamad on Sunday as its prime ministerial candidate for a general election this year, although the authoritarian who ran the country for two decades and is now 92 years old faces an uphill task.

With the country's most popular opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim in jail, Mahathir is seen as the biggest threat for premier Najib Razak, who must call an election by August but is engulfed in a corruption scandal.

Still, an independent survey showed the opposition would have difficulty beating Najib, due to divisions within its own camp and unfavorable electoral boundary changes.

Mahathir and former foe Anwar have joined up to oust Najib, and an election victory by their alliance could also potentially pave the way for Anwar to return and take over as prime minister.

If the opposition wins, it would immediately start the process to obtain a royal pardon for Anwar so that he can be eligible to become prime minister, secretary general Saifuddin Abdullah said at the alliance's convention.

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