Friday, March 21, 2008

Shani Ross Writes: Anwar Ibrahim - Malaysia’s Future Prime Minister

Shani Ross Writes: Anwar Ibrahim - Malaysia’s Future Prime Minister

Shani Ross is the Coordinator for the Executive Programs & Conferences at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT), Interdisciplinary Centre Herzliya, Israel.

Malaysia's opposition parties made significant gains in the parliamentary elections held on Sunday, March 8. Their success demonstrated a growing desire for political change and the furthering of democracy in Malaysia.

The election result means that the ruling Barisan National (National Front (BN)), no longer has a two third parliamentary majority. This means that its power has been limited in some respects, for example it can not amend the constitution or make key appointments without support from the opposition.

Ultimately, the election results means a stronger system of checks and balances, a principle requirement for any true democracy.

The largest of the opposition parties, the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (People's Justice Party (PKR)) won 31 seats, a significant gain compared to the single seat it won in the 2004 elections. The PKR's success has been attributed largely to the revival of former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim's political career. As a proponent of moderate Islam, cultural and religious impartiality, and liberal democracy, Anwar's popularity is gaining strength, with some reports suggesting that should the opposition coalition win the next election, he may well be next in line as Malaysia's Prime Minister. – MORE

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