Thursday, July 10, 2008

Malaysia's PM to stand down in mid-2010

Malaysia's Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Thursday he would stand down in mid-2010, after facing repeated calls to quit since disastrous March elections.
Abdullah said he had struck an agreement with his deputy Najib Razak to hand over power but first wanted the opportunity to implement reforms and projects promised since he came to office five years ago.
"I have decided to hand over my position to Najib to take over as party president in June, in the middle of 2010," Abdullah told a press conference.
The president of the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), which leads the Barisan Nasional coalition, is traditionally prime minister.
"I have achieved an agreement with Najib that I will not lead the BN and UMNO in the next election... and also this means that a transition of power must take place," he said.
Abdullah had resisted calls to quit after general elections that handed the opposition unprecedented gains, and a fuel price hike that triggered public outrage and a series of protests.
"My wish is to strengthen the party and carry out the implementation of programmes and promises made at election time," he said as he stood alongside Najib and other senior UMNO leaders.
Najib pledged his support for Abdullah and urged the party to accept his decision and re-elect the premier in leadership elections in December where disgruntled UMNO elements had been expected to vent their feelings.
"Today starts the process of the transition of power in an orderly manner, following UMNO tradition, where he has given support for me to be his replacement," he said.
"I will continue to accept Abdullah as head of the party," he said.
"I urge members to support the candidacy of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as president of the party in the upcoming elections and urge party members to accept this." MORE

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