27 May, 2007

Party divided over Anwar’s pull-out

Some PKR members are willing to risk the party being de-registered ahead of an expected snap general election...more on Malaysiakini here.

Live Telecast: Parti Keadilan Rakyat Kongres Nasional Tahunan Ke-4 here,and here

“Anwar is very prone to thinking with his heart but I think this time his head will rule his heart,” said Anwar’s long-time friend Datuk Ravi Dharan.

And just as everyone thought that the high emotions had come to a close, Abdul Rahman Othman, the third contestant to the president’s post, declared he was also withdrawing.

Rahman claimed it was a spontaneous act on his part after listening to Anwar’s appeal, although he admitted later that he had “accidentally met” Anwar at a local hotel the previous night and they had chatted for an hour.

Journalists watching the turn of events wondered if there was anything at all spontaneous that morning. There had obviously been quite a bit of choreography behind the scenes.

Anwar and those close to him were well aware of the perils of challenging the ROS. The law is the law, even if one deems the law unjust.

But posturing Anwar as the potential president brought the supporters out in droves. And challenging the ROS gave the party a huge boost of morale.

There was, said one journalist, lots of shock and awe and, if P. Ramlee were still alive, he would have loved to make a movie out of it.

It was superb political strategy and the outpouring of emotions confirmed his standing in the party.

On top of all this, the ROS played an unwitting supporting role to the political melodrama.

Anwar had accused the ROS and the powers behind it of silat and sandiwara in blocking him at the eleventh hour but he was apparently not above his own brand of silat and sandiwara. It was Anwar at his Machiavellian best.
- The Star

Anwar told an emotional crowd of almost 2,000 delegates at an annual gathering for Keadilan, or the People's Justice Party opposition party, that he will, however, remain its de-facto leader.

"I have withdrawn and decided to ask the party to give support to Azizah," Anwar told reporters at the sidelines of the gathering.

"I will lead but we need to follow the rules and law. So for the post of president, let us give way to Azizah. With that, it will be Azizah as president, and I will continue to lead as before," he said in his speech, despite repeated pleas from members.

The Malaysian Registrar of Societies, a government agency, on Friday rejected Anwar's attempt to run for president of Keadilan.

It was feared that if he had continued his bid, this could have led to the party being de-registered.

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