Friday, September 19, 2008

ANWAR/ABDULLAH: bluff and counter bluff

The big day arrived. The prime minister, Abdullah Badawi, and his deputy, Najib Razak, ostentatiously went about their business, ridiculing Mr Anwar’s threat as a “mirage” and a “deception” respectively. Mr Anwar called a press conference to claim that he had “firm commitments” from enough government MPs to win power

He demanded a meeting with Mr Badawi to discuss a smooth handover. But still he did not name the supposed defectors. He has since called for parliament to be recalled from recess to hold a vote of no confidence in the government.

Mr Badawi seems unlikely to agree to this or to meet Mr Anwar. The ruling coalition, led by the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), has run the country uninterruptedly since the peninsula’s independence from Britain 51 years ago. So is Mr Anwar’s boast the bluff of the half-century?

Bluff and counter-bluff
Economist, UK