Thursday, the monarch of Malaysia chose Anwar Ibrahim as the country's next prime minister.
In recent national elections, Anwar's coalition won the most votes but fell short of an absolute majority, paving the way for a period of negotiations.
The opposition leader, who has been running for office for years and has spent nearly a decade in prison on sodomy accusations, will be sworn in at 5 p.m., according to a statement from the office of King Al-Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.
The king revealed his decision during a Thursday morning meeting with the country's other sultans, who take turns ruling for five years, to address the political situation.
Although the monarch is normally responsible for preserving the norms and traditions of Malaysia and does not often engage directly in politics, the close result of Saturday's elections — the closest in the country's history – prompted his intervention to resolve a two-year political impasse.
"After considering the views of Their Royal Highnesses the Malay Rulers, His Majesty has approved Anwar Ibrahim's appointment as the 10th Prime Minister of Malaysia," the announcement said.
According to the final vote tally, the Anwar-led Pakatan Harapan (PH) and the conservative Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalitions gained 82 and 73 seats, well below the majority threshold of 112, while incumbent Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob's Barisan Nasional (BN) secured only 30 seats.
Anwar could theoretically lead a coalition government with the backing of both the Pakatan Harapan and the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the alliance's founding and most influential member.
These elections signal the end of a political era in Malaysia, which was ruled until 2018 by the UMNO, whose power has diminished mostly as a result of corruption allegations involving its officials.
Anwar came close to becoming the country's leader following the success of the PH in the 2018 elections, per an agreement with then-prime minister Mahathir Mohamad to give over the office to him.
However, Mahathir's resignation in 2020 precipitated a political crisis in the country that is anticipated to be resolved by Anwar's appointment.