Elections I Really, Really Care About: Part 1
In Malaysia, Anwar Ibrahim just won a Parliamentary by-election that may put him on the fast track to being the country's next Prime Minister
PERMATANG PAUH, Malaysia (Reuters) - Malaysia's best-known opposition politician, Anwar Ibrahim, scored a bigger than expected victory in a by-election on Tuesday, boosting his chances of becoming the country's next prime minister.
Anwar, whose campaign for the parliamentary seat vacated by his wife has been dogged by charges of sodomy, won a majority of 15,671 over his government opponent.
You remember Anwar--he is the opposition leader who spent two years in jail (2002-4) on falsified charges of sodomy after he crossed Malaysia's autocratic PM Mahathir of the all-powerful ruling UMNO party.
Big changes are afoot. When I was in Malaysia earlier this year, a coalition of opposition parties was able to gather a veto-sized stake in the Parliament, enough to block the most flagrant corruption excesses of the ruling party.
Even more amazing: the new coalition is multi-ethnic. Malaysia's politics and politicians have been playing the race/religion/ethnic card since the British left. But not any more. Working class Malays, disenfranchised Chinese and Indian laborers, socialists and small capitalists have united and are making change at the ballot box.
Yeah, change. When it's the real thing, it's the best.