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From prison, Malaysia's Anwar helps reunite the opposition



KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Malaysian opposition icon Anwar Ibrahim can not vote on Wednesday, which he believes will be a "defining choice" for his country, but even his prison cell has remained a political force

The arsonist's sentencing in 2015 for what he and his supporters had said was a false accusation of sodomy that disrupted the opposition parties' alliance, which under Anwar's leadership threatened the decades-long power claim of the ruling National Front.

It was Anwar's second spell in jail and it seemed he had been finally killed by dirty political tactics. Once a high-flyer in the ruling party, he was convicted in 1998 of homosexual sodomy – a Muslim-majority crime inherited from the British colonial era – and corruption after a power struggle with Mahathir Mohammad, Malaysia's authoritarian prime minister for more than two decades [19659-05] ] Anwar, however, played an unexpected card. From prison, he helped forge a new opposition alliance by ending the two-decade-long feud with his former chief prosecutor Mahathir, who once called Anwar "morally inappropriate" to govern the country.

It was a tough But a pragmatic decision, Anwar's eldest daughter, lawmaker Nurul Izzah Anwar, told The Associated Press.

Anwar, 70, is an "incorrigible optimist," who believes that sacrifices must be made to bring about a change of government and much-needed reforms, she said

"He was instrumental in obtaining eventual approval To make Mahathir become part of our coalition, "said Nurul Izzah. "He was the first to declare that it is time for us to do our part in shaping Malaysia as we want it."

Mahathir, 92, now leads an opposition alliance that includes Anwar's party. They are working to overthrow the scandal-ridden Prime Minister Najib Razak and end the uninterrupted 60-year reign of the National Front.

Even with Mahathir, who is popular with Malaysia's Malay majority, chances are against the opposition. It won the vote in 2013, but the ruling party clung to a majority in parliament over an electoral system that gives more weight to the Malaysian-dominated rural areas that traditionally support the government.

A popular Islamic student leader, Anwar, the government of the Malay party in 1982, a year after Mahathir became prime minister. He rose quickly, became Minister of Finance in 1991, and two years later Deputy Prime Minister. Anwar became the heir to Mahathir, but they failed during the 1998 Asian financial crisis and Anwar was released.

He refused to go quietly, led tens of thousands of demonstrators to rallies in Kuala Lumpur before he was arrested. He was later produced in court with a black eye by a police chief beatings. This black eye has become the logo of the People's Justice Party led by his wife and is today the symbol of opposition to Najib.

Anwar released in 2004 after Mahathir retired and acquitted of sodomy charges

In the 2008 elections, his opposition pact, known as the People's Alliance, made great strides by becoming the first of the National Front Once a two-thirds majority in Parliament withheld. In 2013, the National Front lost the election result, the worst result since independence from Britain in 1957. It currently has 132 out of 222 seats.

But in 2015, Anwar was imprisoned again after seeing an assistant who told him and his supporters it was a government plan to destroy the opposition.

"Authoritarian leaders always believe that the best way to deal with dissidents is to incarcerate them, but in the course of history, they have always backfired," Anwar said at the time.] His opposition alliance collapsed after their Islamist ally left was. It formed into an alliance of hope, but the pact was shaky due to power struggles and the lack of a charismatic figure that held it together day after day.

Mahathir's political comeback in 2016 provided the missing glue. Despite his advanced age, Mahathir was considered the best opportunity for the opposition to receive support from rural Malays.

The former Prime Minister was allegedly stolen and washed for $ 4.5 billion by the corruption scandal of 1MDB, a state-run fund run by the US and several other countries according to Najib employees. The fund was founded in 2009 by Najib to promote economic but accumulated billions of debt.

In September 2016, Mahathir met Anwar for the first time in 18 years. Social media was full of images of the two men shaking hands and chatting to the courts, where Anwar ran a repressive new security bill.

An opposition victory in the election, though unlikely, could lead to a spectacular comeback for Anwar. He is due to be released from prison on June 8, and Mahathir has promised to give him the lead. Officials say that Anwar could take power with a royal pardon.

Anwar, Nurul Izzah said, "knows it's a crucial choice, he knows the stakes are high."

"We have to fight Mahathir especially in the run-up to the election, but we also say we are not apologists, whether he likes it or not, he's doing his part now at the age of 92, what are you doing? the key message we give. "

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed.


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