KUALA LUMPUR, July 15 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced today that he will run for PKR presidency in its upcoming internal polls, in what he said was to preserve “continuity” within the party.
Anwar’s announcement, made on Twitter this morning, would likely come as a surprise to the party since many believed that he would be sitting out of the party election to “preserve stability” both in PKR and Pakatan Harapan.
It remains unclear if his ascension to the presidency would entail Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail stepping down as deputy prime minister, but holding the post will most likely precipitate his entrance into mainstream politics and prompt changes within the power arrangements in PH.
“After discussing this with Azizah, the deputy president and the party leadership, as well as taking into consideration views and for continuity’s sake and very much conscious of the principles of bil Jamaah, I am offering myself to contest for the PKR presidential post,” Anwar tweeted.
The 70-year-old currently holds no post in the party but is considered the “de facto” leader, although the lack of clear definition about the role has made some within PH to question his position.
Justeru setelah berbincang dengan Azizah, Timbalan Presiden, dan kempimpinan, serta mengambilkira segenap pandangan dan keperluan demi kelangsungan KEADILAN, dengan penuh kesedaran atas prinsip iltizam bil jamaah, saya menawar diri untuk bertanding jawatan Presiden KEADILAN.— Anwar Ibrahim (@anwaribrahim) July 15, 2018
Addressing this on Twitter, Anwar said that his decision to stay away from holding any party post since 2007 was meant to protect his party.
“I would remind you that the request for me to lead PKR as president had been made since the party elections in 2007,” Anwar wrote.
He noted there were restrictions imposed on PKR then by the Registrar of Societies, and chose to step back for a while, allowing his wife to helm the party.
Political observers have often said Dr Wan Azizah only serves as a proxy for Anwar.
PKR insiders previously told Malay Mail that Anwar must step forward and go for the party’s top post to prove his commitment to being the next prime minister as there was another faction who hopes the incumbent deputy Datuk Seri Azmin Ali may rise and overtake his former boss politically.
PKR is scheduled to have its party election at the end of August with nominations set for July 29.