Malaysian Mahathir Mohamad lost a power struggle on Saturday with a little-known ex-interior minister who was supposed to be the country's new prime minister. This will bring a party plagued by scandals to power.
Muhyiddin Yassin will be sworn in on Sunday, royal officials said after a week of turmoil that followed the breakdown of a reformist government and Mahathir's resignation as prime minister.
"The process of appointing the prime minister cannot be delayed because the country needs a government for the benefit of the people and the nation," the palace said. The king appoints the prime minister, and rival candidates tried this week to show that the majority were supported by MPs.
In addition to ending the term of office of Mahathir, the world's oldest leader (94), there will be little hope that his designated successor, Anwar Ibrahim, will become prime minister.
Muhyiddin's coalition is dominated by the Muslim majority of the multiethnic country and includes the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), the scandal-ridden party of exiled leader Najib Razak.
UMNO was the linchpin of a long-ruling coalition that was overthrown in historic elections in 2018. Najib and his friends looted the 1MDB sovereign wealth fund.
Muhyiddin, a former Mahathir ally, had partnered with UMNO to gain power. His coalition also includes a persistent Muslim party that campaigns for Islamic laws.
Malaysia in turmoil
The current crisis began when Mahathir and Anwar's ruling alliance "Pact of Hope", which stormed to a historic victory against Najib's government two years ago, collapsed a week ago.
A group of ruling coalition legislators had teamed up with opposition parties to form a new government without anwar and prevent him from becoming prime minister.
After these efforts failed, Mahathir and Anwar launched rival offers to gain power and revived a rivalry that has shaped politics in the Southeast Asian nation for more than two decades.
But when Muhyiddin's offer quickly gained support and it became clear that he could come to power with UMNO, Mahathir and Anwar made a U-turn and reunited on Saturday.
The remaining parties to the Pact of Hope alliance gave Mahathir their support to become prime minister, and there were hopes that he could stop Muhyiddin.
The "Pact of Hope", a ragged group of opposition groups that included a party dominated by the country's ethnic Chinese minority, Anwar's People's Justice Party, and Mahathir's Malay-dominated outfit, has been troubled from the start.
Mahathir had promised to eventually hand Anwar over to the Prime Minister, but many were skeptical that he wanted to give power to his old rival, and rival factions were trying to oust Anwar.
Muhyiddin, 72, was a member of the UMNO for decades and held a number of managerial positions. He was deputy prime minister in Najib's government, but Najib dismissed him after criticizing the 1MDB scandal.