In a stunning election upset, Malaysia’s 92-year-old Mahathir Mohamad has defeated his one-time protégé, the incumbent Najib Razak at Wednesday’s fiercely contestedpolls. Mahathir’s win ends the ruling Barisan National coalition’s six-decade-long monopoly, paving the way for the country’s first transition of power since independence more than half a century ago.
Mahathir, Malaysia’s longest-serving prime minister, stepped out of retirement and defected from the party he helped entrench in order to lead the opposition. When he is sworn in, Mahathir will become the world’s oldest head of government.
After a marathon night of ballot counting that stretched well-past 3 a.m. local time, the Election Commission’s official tally showed Mahathir’s coalition Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope), along with an allied party in Sabah, had netted 121 seats, comfortably surpassing the 112 threshold needed to form the next government. By contrast, the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) held on to just 79 seats.