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Malaysia in transition

Malaysia's Anwar named PKR party leader

Appointment puts him one step closer to becoming next Malaysian prime minister

Former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim is expected to succeed current Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad within several years.   © AP

SINGAPORE -- Malaysia's former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has been named president of the Parti Keadilan Rakyat, the leading party in the country's the parliament's ruling coalition. The announcement was made on Sunday during the party's national congress, which ended the same day, according to local media reports.

Anwar won a lower house by-election in October, a step toward becoming the next prime minister. Anwar is keen to build his political power base as early as possible, as he prepares to succeed current Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad within several years.

Anwar was freed from jail in May after receiving a royal pardon, and ran for the party presidency in August. Without other candidates running, his victory was almost certain. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Malaysia's deputy prime minister and Anwar's wife, has been serving as party leader.

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