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Malaysian king to meet all lawmakers to decide the next PM

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The palace said the king would hold individual interviews with all 222 elected members of the lower house of parliament on Tuesday and Wednesday, to assess who was likely to succeed.

[KUALA LUMPUR] Malaysia's king will meet all members of Parliament to decide the next prime minister, a palace official said on Tuesday, after 94-year-old premier Mahathir Mohamad unexpectedly resigned a day earlier.

Under Malaysia's constitution, any lawmaker who can command a majority in Parliament can stake a claim to form a government, which must then be approved by the king.

The palace said the king would hold individual interviews with all 222 elected members of the lower house of Parliament on Tuesday and Wednesday, to assess who was likely to succeed.

The political crisis comes at a particularly bad time for the Malaysian economy, after growth fell to a decade low in the final quarter of last year. Dr Mahathir had been scheduled to announce a stimulus package to deal with the coronavirus outbreak on Thursday.

Malaysia's stock market recovered slightly on Tuesday after falling to an eight-year low on Monday while the currency also rose after hitting a near six-month low.

Dr Mahathir, whom the king has appointed as interim prime minister, on Tuesday posted on Twitter a picture of himself seated at his desk in his office with the caption: "Just another day in the office." 

REUTERS