Mahathir Mohamad, 92, became the world’s oldest elected leader after he was sworn-in Thursday as Malaysia’s new prime minister in a stunning election win.
In a huge political victory, former Mahathir’s opposition alliance broke the grip on power of the Barisan Nasional (BN), which had governed Malaysia uninterrupted since its birth as an independent country in 1957.
Mahathir who had previously ruled the country with an iron fist for 22 years made an astonishing comeback out of retirement to take on Prime Minister Najib Razak after he was embroiled in a massive corruption scandal.
Mahathir was officially sworn-in as prime minister by King Sultan Muhammad V, at the national palace in a ceremony deeply rooted in centuries-old Muslim Malay tradition.
Dressed in traditional Malay dress, Mahathir took the oath of office in a elaborately decorated room, with political allies and senior government officials in attendance.
“I, Mahathir Mohamad, after being elected as prime minister, swear to carry out my task with all my ability and that I will be loyal to Malaysia and preserve and defend the constitution,” he said.
There was celebration in the streets and fireworks lit up in the night sky across Kuala Lumpur.
Azlan Shah, a member of Mahathir’s party said he was “very proud” and that “our struggle to change Malaysian politics is not wasted. We believe Mahathir can make a change,” he told AFP.