Mahathir Mohamad is expected to be sworn in as Malaysia’s prime minister for the second time, after a shock victory in the country’s election.
Dr Mahathir will become the world’s oldest elected leader at 92 after toppling opponent Najib Razak and overturn six decades of rule by the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.
The former PM came out of retirement, defecting from the BN to the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) to challenge one-time protégé Mr Najib.
He will be sworn in at 9:30pm (local time).
The Election Commission said official results revealed the opposition was had so far won 113 seats out of 222.
BN had secured 79 seats.
Dr Mahathir was the country’s authoritarian leader for 22 years until 2003.
Few had expected Dr Mahathir to win against a coalition that long relied on the country’s ethnic-Malay majority.
“Yes, yes, I am still alive,” Dr Mahathir told a news conference on Thursday to cheers from his suppporters, saying his coalition would “restore the rule of law”.
“There is an urgency here, we need to form the Government now, today,” Dr Mahathir said of his decision to be sworn in sooner.
Mr Najib said he would “accept the verdict of the people”.
“I accept and my friends accept,” he said.
“It has been the choice of the people and the Barisan Nasional party is committed to respecting the principles of democracy.”
“As one party gained a simple majority, they will make a decision on will be appointed as prime minister according to the constitution.”
However, Mr Najib appeared to doubt that the former prime minister would succeed him, claiming that because a coalition had won a simple majority and not a single party, it would be up to the country’s king to decide who would become the next leader.
The King would need to sign Dr Mahathir’s letter or appointment for him to become prime minister.
Dr Mahathir said his coalition would have the support of 135 members of Malaysia’s 222-seat parliament after the general election and is entitled to form a government.
Supporters said a better future was on the way with rising living costs and allegations of corruption resulted in many voters turning away from Mr Najib.
“I feel that with this change we probably can see something better in the future,” doctor Suva Selvan said.
“Our hope for the future is a better government, fair, free and united.”