An autocratic politician emerged from retirement at age 92 to defeat his handpicked but appallingly corrupt successor, and to clear the way for a former deputy he had imprisoned on trumped-up charges.

It's an unlikely plot for a political thriller, but that's whats happening in Malaysia. And if things play out according to Mahathir Mohammad's plan, the situation could represent a  rare, if curious victory for democracy in a part of the world where the trend has been in the opposite direction.

Prime Minister Mahathir, the nonagenarian, dominated Malaysian politics as prime minster from  1981 - 2003 , guiding the country through rapid modernization and economic expansion.

He also ran the nation with an iron fist, and among his victims was the charismatic protege, deputy and presumed heir. Anwar Ibrahim, who was imprisoned in 1998 on sham charges of sodomy and corruption.

Instead, Mr. Mahathir was followed in office by two-handpicked successors.

The second of these, Najib Razak, stands accused of staggering corruption. The American Justice Department, which has been investigating the theft Malaysian public funds because they were laundered through the United States says-

At least $3.5 billion was stolen under Mr. Najib, with $731 million ending up in his personal account.

Declaring his choice of Mr. Najib as a successor ''the biggest mistake I have ever made in my life,'' Mr. Mahathir  threw his hat in the ring in recent national elections as head of the opposition coalition that has been led by Mr. Anwar Ibrahim until he was thrown in prison in a second time, in 2015, again on politically motivated charges.

Despite trying every dirty trick in the book, Mr. Najib lost, and then some Thursdays ago
Mr Mahathir was sworn in once again as prime minister making him the oldest government leader in the world.

Mr. Mahathir has made good on his promise to seek a pardon for Mr. Anwar, who could succeed him.

The Honor and Serving of the latest Operational Research on Politicians, Governments and Democracy continues to Part 2. !WOW! thanks the editorial board of  The New York Times.


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