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Lebanon’s Bassil Criticises Hariri Efforts to Form Government | World News

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanese Christian politician Gebran Bassil criticised Sunni former prime minister Saad al-Hariri on Tuesday for putting himself forward to lead a government that would champion a French initiative to resolve the country’s deep economic crisis.

Hariri has begun consultations with the president, parliamentary speaker and Lebanese political blocs about forming a government that would implement President Emmanuel Macron’s roadmap for reforms and unlock international aid.

He has said his mission was to form a six-month government of technocrats to rapidly carry out the reform plan set out in Macron’s initiative.

“We were not aware, and nobody informed us, that President Macron had appointed a high commissioner… to Lebanon, and made a prefect for us to oversee his initiative and the extent of its implementation,” Bassil said in a speech to supporters.

“Whoever wants to head a government of technocrats has to be a technocrat himself,” said Bassil, who heads Lebanon’s biggest Christian bloc, the Free Patriotic Movement. A former foreign minister, Bassil is also President Michel Aoun’s son-in-law.

Aoun will hold formal consultations on Thursday about nominating a prime minister to form a new government to replace Hassan Diab’s cabinet, which resigned two months ago after a powerful explosion damaged much of Beirut and killed 200 people.

Diab’s nominated replacement has been unable to form a government after the powerful Shi’ite group Hezbollah and its political allies insisted on nominating the finance minister.

Lebanon is suffering its worst financial collapse since a 1975-1990 civil war. Foreign donors have made clear there will be no fresh aid unless Lebanese leaders launch reforms to tackle graft and improve governance, and engage in IMF negotiations.

(Reporting by Samia Nakhoul and Ellen Francis, writing by Dominic Evans; Editing by Gareth Jones)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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Malaysia’s Anwar meets king in bid to form new government

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim waves to media after meeting the nation's king in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. Anwar said last week that he would present the monarch with “strong and convincing” documentary evidence of the support he has from lawmakers, which would allow him to unseat Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim waves to media after meeting the nation’s king in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. Anwar said last week that he would present the monarch with “strong and convincing” documentary evidence of the support he has from lawmakers, which would allow him to unseat Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

AP

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said he presented the nation’s king Tuesday with evidence that he has enough support among lawmakers to topple the prime minister and form a new government, an assertion the palace denied.

Anwar said he presented the monarch with evidence of the support he has from over 120 lawmakers, which would allow him to unseat Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

Anwar said the monarch pledged to abide by the constitution, and would consult leaders from other parties before making a decision. He declined to give details, urging Malaysians to be patient and give the king space to review the evidence.

“These documents made it abundantly clear that we have registered a formidable and convincing majority among parliamentarians,” Anwar told a news conference after the royal meeting. “Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has lost his majority and therefore, it would be appropriate for him to resign.”

After that news conference, however, the palace released a statement denying that Anwar provided evidence of support. It said Anwar only told Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah how many lawmakers supported him but didn’t reveal their identities.

It said the king advised Anwar “to abide by and respect the legal process” based on the constitution.

Muhyiddin, who took power in March after securing enough support in Parliament to unseat Anwar’s reformist alliance, has previously dismissed Anwar’s claim to a majority. Muhyiddin currently boasts a slim two-seat majority in the 222-seat Parliament and has been grappling to maintain support amid infighting in his coalition.

Allies in Muhyiddin’s Malay-centric ruling coalition also denied supporting Anwar, and branded Anwar a “desperado” for seeking to wrest power as the country struggles with the coronavirus.

The audience with the king was slated three weeks ago, but postponed as the king was hospitalized.

“I frankly do not think it will be a smooth and easy ride for Anwar. For one, even if the king is convinced of Anwar’s command of parliamentary majority, the king still has the alternative constitutional option of dissolving the parliament,” said Oh Ei Sun, a senior fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs.

Oh, a Malaysian, said support for Anwar could also have waned as Muhyiddin’s camp may have lured back defectors in the past three weeks.

Anwar’s Alliance of Hope was elected in 2018 but collapsed after Muhyiddin withdrew his party and tied up with opposition parties to form a Malay-centric government in March. Then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad resigned in protest, saying he wouldn’t work with parties accused of corruption that he ousted in the 2018 polls.

Anwar said Tuesday that he extended an olive branch to Muhyiddin to discuss the political change

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Malaysia’s Anwar submits documents to king to show support to form new government



Anwar Ibrahim wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: Anwar Ibrahim shown greeting supporters in Kuala Lumpur on May 16, 2018.


© MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images
Anwar Ibrahim shown greeting supporters in Kuala Lumpur on May 16, 2018.

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on Tuesday met the country’s king and said he submitted documents proving his “strong and convincing” parliamentary support to form government and that Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin should resign.

Anwar said he had the support of over 120 lawmakers in the 222-strong parliament, disclosing his numbers for the first time since his announcement last month he had secured a majority from federal lawmakers to form a new government.

Anwar said it was now up to King Al-Sultan Abdullah to decide on the next step, but added Muhyiddin had lost his majority and should resign.

“I urge all parties to give space to the king to carry out his responsibilities under the constitution, and to go through the documents and call party leaders to confirm and receive their input and views,” Anwar told reporters.

The king plays a largely ceremonial role but he can appoint a Prime Minister who in his view is likely to command a majority. The king could also dissolve parliament and trigger elections on the Prime Minister’s advice.

In March, the king appointed Muhyiddin as the Prime Minister after the unexpected resignation of Mahathir Mohamad, saying he believed Muhyiddin commanded majority support in parliament.

The power struggle comes as Malaysia, already grappling with an economy battered by the novel coronavirus, faces a renewed surge in infections.

Should Anwar succeed in securing the post, it would be the culmination of a 22-year long quest, which included nearly 10 years in jail on charges he denied. It would also mean Malaysia would have its third Prime Minister this year.

But scepticism over Anwar’s challenge remains as no major party has offered a clear declaration of support. One party, which is a member of the ruling coalition, has said some of its lawmakers supported Anwar.

“Should the meeting fail to translate into an actionable outcome, his credibility will be affected and this may push the opposition bloc to find another PM candidate,” said Shazwan Mustafa Kamal, senior associate at political consultancy Vriens & Partners.

Muhyiddin, whose seven-month-old administration has survived on a razor-thin parliamentary majority, had earlier dismissed Anwar’s claims as a “mere allegation” and told him to prove his majority through a constitutional process.

Leaders in Muhyiddin’s Perikatan Nasional coalition issued a statement on Monday declaring full support for Muhyiddin.

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Malaysia’s Anwar Meets King in Bid to Form New Government | World News

By EILEEN NG, Associated Press

KUALA LUMPUR (AP) — Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim met the nation’s king Tuesday in a bid to form a new government after claiming he had secured a majority in Parliament.

Anwar said he would present the monarch with “strong and convincing” documentary evidence of the support he has from lawmakers, which would allow him to unseat Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

But he did not speak to reporters gathered at the gate after spending about an hour at the palace, and instead his party said he will hold a hold a news conference “regarding an important announcement post-audience with His Majesty.”

Muhyiddin, who took power in March after securing enough support in Parliament to unseat Anwar’s reformist alliance, has dismissed Anwar’s claim to a majority. Muhyiddin currently boasts a slim two-seat majority and has been grappling to maintain support amid infighting in his coalition.

Allies in Muhyiddin’s ruling coalition have denied supporting Anwar, and branded Anwar a “desperado” for seeking to wrest power as the country struggles with the coronavirus.

The audience with the king was slated three weeks ago, but postponed as the king was hospitalized. Anwar has been tight-lipped and said he would only reveal details after meeting the king.

“I frankly do not think it will be a smooth and easy ride for Anwar. For one, even if the king is convinced of Anwar’s command of parliamentary majority, the king still has the alternative constitutional option of dissolving the parliament,” said Oh Ei Sun, a senior fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs.

Oh, a Malaysian, said support for Anwar could also have waned as Muhyiddin’s camp may have lured back defectors in the past three weeks.

Before leaving home Tuesday morning, Anwar tweeted a picture of himself and his wife. “Hopefully it will be a smooth affair today,” he wrote.

Anwar’s Alliance of Hope was elected in 2018 but collapsed after Muhyiddin withdrew his party and tied up with opposition parties to form a Malay-centric government in March. Then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad resigned in protest, saying he wouldn’t work with parties accused of corruption that he ousted in the 2018 polls.

If Anwar succeeds, it will mark a dramatic comeback after his roller-coaster political journey since the 1990s.

Once a high flyer in the ruling party, Anwar was convicted of homosexual sodomy and corruption after a power struggle with Mahathir in 1998. He was imprisoned for a second time for sodomy in 2014.

Anwar and his supporters have long denied the sodomy allegations, saying they were concocted to destroy his political career.

Rather than give up, Anwar ended his feud with Mahathir from his prison cell to forge a the Alliance of Hope, which in the 2018 polls defeated the coalition that had led Malaysia for 61 years.

Mahathir became premier a second time. Anwar was freed with a royal pardon days after the polls and was Mahathir’s designated successor before their alliance fell apart.

Copyright 2020 The Associated

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Malaysia’s Anwar meets king in bid to form new government

KUALA LUMPUR (AP) — Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was to meet the nation’s king Tuesday in a bid to form a new government after claiming he had secured a majority in Parliament.

Anwar said last week that he would present the monarch with “strong and convincing” documentary evidence of the support he has from lawmakers, which would allow him to unseat Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

Anwar spent about an hour at the palace before leaving. He did not speak to reporters gathered at the gate.

Muhyiddin, who took power in March after securing enough support in Parliament to unseat Anwar’s reformist alliance, has dismissed Anwar’s claim to a majority. Muhyiddin currently boasts a slim two-seat majority and has been grappling to maintain support amid infighting in his coalition.

Allies in Muhyiddin’s ruling coalition have denied supporting Anwar, and branded Anwar a “desperado” for seeking to wrest power as the country struggles with the coronavirus.


The audience with the king was slated three weeks ago, but postponed as the king was hospitalized. Anwar has been tight-lipped and said he would only reveal details after meeting the king.

“I frankly do not think it will be a smooth and easy ride for Anwar. For one, even if the king is convinced of Anwar’s command of parliamentary majority, the king still has the alternative constitutional option of dissolving the parliament,” said Oh Ei Sun, a senior fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs.

Oh, a Malaysian, said support for Anwar could also have waned as Muhyiddin’s camp may have lured back defectors in the past three weeks.

Before leaving home Tuesday morning, Anwar tweeted a picture of himself and his wife. “Hopefully it will be a smooth affair today,” he wrote.

Anwar’s Alliance of Hope was elected in 2018 but collapsed after Muhyiddin withdrew his party and tied up with opposition parties to form a Malay-centric government in March. Then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad resigned in protest, saying he wouldn’t work with parties accused of corruption that he ousted in the 2018 polls.

If Anwar succeeds, it will mark a dramatic comeback after his roller-coaster political journey since the 1990s.

Once a high flyer in the ruling party, Anwar was convicted of homosexual sodomy and corruption after a power struggle with Mahathir in 1998. He was imprisoned for a second time for sodomy in 2014.

Anwar and his supporters have long denied the sodomy allegations, saying they were concocted to destroy his political career.

Rather than give up, Anwar ended his feud with Mahathir from his prison cell to forge a the Alliance of Hope, which in the 2018 polls defeated the coalition that had led Malaysia for 61 years.

Mahathir became premier a second time. Anwar was freed with a royal pardon days after the polls and was Mahathir’s designated successor before their alliance fell apart.

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Malaysia’s Anwar Set to Meet King in Bid to Form New Government

(Bloomberg) — Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim will meet the king on Tuesday in a bid to prove he’s got the numbers to form a new government, even as the current ruling bloc says the move will fail.



Anwar Ibrahim, Nathan Nguyen are posing for a picture: Anwar Ibrahim in Petaling Jaya on Feb. 26.


© Bloomberg
Anwar Ibrahim in Petaling Jaya on Feb. 26.

Anwar last month announced he commanded a “formidable majority” of the nation’s 222 lawmakers to oust Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who took power in March by the thinnest of margins after another coalition government collapsed. Anwar’s initial meeting with the king, known as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, was delayed because the head of state was ill.

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“Frankly, I do not think it will be a smooth and easy ride for Anwar,” said Oh Ei Sun, senior fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs. It’s unlikely Anwar will succeed as the government would’ve used resources to lure back defectors from the time Anwar first staked claim to power three weeks ago, he said.

The king has several options if he’s convinced that Anwar has the backing of a majority in parliament, including a dissolution of parliament, ordering a confidence vote or appointing him as the new prime minister. The monarch played a key role in interviewing lawmakers back in February after former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad resigned, triggering the instability that has gripped Malaysia for much of the year.

Why Malaysia’s Politics Are Messy and What’s at Stake: QuickTake

Malaysia ruling parties have dismissed Anwar’s move as a tactic to destabilize the country’s politics. Over the weekend, they closed ranks around Muhyiddin.

“PAS is very confident that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong won’t entertain this desperate move,” Parti Se-Islam Malaysia, a coliation partner, said in a statement Sunday.

The Barisan Nasional coalition supports Muhyiddin as prime minister and won’t work with Anwar, its secretary-general Annuar Musa wrote on Facebook. Annuar is also a party leader of the United Malays National Organisation, which Muhyiddin counts among his biggest supporters.

The Malaysian Chinese Association, one of the grouping’s members, in a separate statement said the party will not join or participate in any plans by Anwar to form a new government.

Movement Curbs

A snap election risks worsening Malaysia’s coronavirus outbreak. New infections surged to record-highs weeks after a state election held in Sabah last month, fueled by politicians who failed to follow social distancing guidelines when campaigning in the eastern state.

The government Monday imposed curbs on movement in its capital city of Kuala Lumpur, administrative capital Putrajaya and in the states of Selangor and Sabah, as the virus spread. The restrictions also pulled the nation’s key stock index down 0.8% at the close.

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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Montenegro’s President Asks Pro-Serb Opposition Leader to Form New Government | World News

PODGORICA (Reuters) – Montenegro’s president nominated Zdravko Krivokapic, the leader of a pro-Serb opposition alliance backed by the powerful Serbian Orthodox Church, to form a government on Thursday, ending three decades of socialist rule.

For the Future of Montenegro and its allies from the centre-right alliance Peace is Our Nation, and a group led by the green URA party, jointly secured a slim majority of 41 deputies in the 81-seat parliament in an election on Aug. 30. They subsequently agreed to form a cabinet.

After meeting the leaders of the proposed coalition, President Milo Djukanovic said he would forward Krivokapic’s name to parliament.

Djukanovic, who faces reelection in 2023, said the new government would maintain reforms and investments in the tiny Adriatic republic of only 620,000, a NATO member and a candidate to join the European Union.

“This proves the maturity of our society … Montenegro is recognised as a (key) factor for regional stability,” he said.

For Future of Montenegro has pledged the country would maintain its EU membership bid and NATO membership.

Krivokapic said that the talks with Djukanovic “were a sign of improvement of the political culture” and that he and other opposition leaders will send a proposal for the composition of new Cabinet to the parliament by Nov 8.

“The most important thing for us is the different future for Montenegro,” he told reporters.

Opposition leaders, democracy and human rights watchdogs, have long accused Djukanovic and his Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) of running Montenegro as their own corrupt fiefdom with links to organised crime.

The DPS and Djukanovic deny the charges.

Montenegrins who identify as Serbs account for about a third of its population. Most Montenegrins and Serbs share language and the Orthodox Christian faith, and many of Serbia’s citizens have roots and families in Montenegro.

The Serbian Orthodox Church, the largest in the country, held daily protests against a law adopted last December that allows the state to seize religious assets whose historical ownership cannot be proven.

(Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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Montenegro’s president asks pro-Serb opposition leader to form new government

PODGORICA (Reuters) – Montenegro’s president nominated Zdravko Krivokapic, the leader of a pro-Serb opposition alliance backed by the powerful Serbian Orthodox Church, to form a government on Thursday, ending three decades of socialist rule.

For the Future of Montenegro and its allies from the centre-right alliance Peace is Our Nation, and a group led by the green URA party, jointly secured a slim majority of 41 deputies in the 81-seat parliament in an election on Aug. 30. They subsequently agreed to form a cabinet.

After meeting the leaders of the proposed coalition, President Milo Djukanovic said he would forward Krivokapic’s name to parliament.

Djukanovic, who faces reelection in 2023, said the new government would maintain reforms and investments in the tiny Adriatic republic of only 620,000, a NATO member and a candidate to join the European Union.

“This proves the maturity of our society … Montenegro is recognised as a (key) factor for regional stability,” he said.

For Future of Montenegro has pledged the country would maintain its EU membership bid and NATO membership.

Krivokapic said that the talks with Djukanovic “were a sign of improvement of the political culture” and that he and other opposition leaders will send a proposal for the composition of new Cabinet to the parliament by Nov 8.

“The most important thing for us is the different future for Montenegro,” he told reporters.

Opposition leaders, democracy and human rights watchdogs, have long accused Djukanovic and his Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) of running Montenegro as their own corrupt fiefdom with links to organised crime.

The DPS and Djukanovic deny the charges.

Montenegrins who identify as Serbs account for about a third of its population. Most Montenegrins and Serbs share language and the Orthodox Christian faith, and many of Serbia’s citizens have roots and families in Montenegro.

The Serbian Orthodox Church, the largest in the country, held daily protests against a law adopted last December that allows the state to seize religious assets whose historical ownership cannot be proven.

(Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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