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Malaysia in transition

Malaysia PM hunt focuses on UMNO's Ismail and opposition's Anwar

Party beaten in 2018 election eyes comeback; king insists on confidence vote

The National Palace in Kuala Lumpur: Lawmakers have until 4 p.m. local time on Aug. 18 to submit their prime minister picks to the king.   © Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR -- The search for Malaysia's next prime minister appears to have narrowed to two leading candidates -- Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Anwar Ibrahim -- with the former widely believed to have the edge.

Ismail, who served as deputy prime minister in the Muhyiddin Yassin-led government before its collapse on Monday, has overcome a rift within his own United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) to secure the party's full support. If he prevails, the appointment of an UMNO prime minister would mark a dramatic reversal of the 2018 general election, when parties spearheaded by Mahathir Mohamad ended the scandal-tainted UMNO coalition's until-then uninterrupted run in power.

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