Malaysia’s opposition leader files for by-election

By EILEEN NG – 4 days ago

PERMATANG PAUH, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia’s top opposition leader filed nomination papers Saturday for a Parliament by-election that he is expected to win easily — the first step in his bid to bring down the government and become prime minister.

Tens of thousands of cheering supporters escorted Anwar Ibrahim to the nomination center where he formally registered for the Aug. 26 election in the northern state of Penang.

“I am touched by the overwhelming support. It is no longer just a by-election. It is a lot more than that,” said Anwar.

The massive show of support is a demonstration of Anwar’s popularity despite being recently charged with sodomizing a 23-year-old male aide, a crime punishable by up to 20 years in jail. Anwar says that and a similar charge in 1998 were the result of political conspiracies to prevent him from becoming prime minister.

The latest accusation came as his People’s Alliance opposition coalition has become a serious threat to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s National Front coalition, which has been in power since independence in 1957. [more]

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