[As the Pakaran Harapan or Alliance of Hope's win became clear, supporters took to social media and the streets of Malaysia's biggest city, Kuala Lumpur, waving flags of the opposition. (Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters)]
Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia's veteran ex-leader Mahathir Mohamad, 92, won a historic election victory Thursday, in a political earthquake that toppled the country's scandal-plagued premier and ousted a regime that had ruled for over six decades.
In a stunning political upset that took pundits by surprise, Mahathir's opposition alliance ended the long hold on power of the Barisan Nasional coalition, which has been in power in Malaysia since its birth as an independent country in 1957.
The Election Commission said on Thursday the opposition has so far won 112 seats and the BN has 76 in the 222-member parliament. As the Pakaran Harapan or Alliance of Hope's win became clear, supporters took to social media and the streets of Malaysia's biggest city, Kuala Lumpur, waving flags of the opposition.
The thumping victory capped a dramatic political comeback for Mahathir, who previously ruled the country with an iron fist for 22 years and came out of retirement to take on Prime Minister Najib Razak after the leader became embroiled in a massive corruption scandal, according to AFP.
Mahahtir said he will be sworn in as Malaysia's leader later on Thursday, becoming the oldest prime minister in the world.
Despite the shock result there were no reports of trouble on the streets, where pockets of celebration erupted overnight. A flag-waving crowd of supporters gathered on a field outside the headquarters of Mahathir's party near Kuala Lumpur.
Suva Selvan, a 48-year-old doctor, said he felt the country had just won its independence. "I feel that with this change we probably can see something better in the future... our hope for the future is a better government, fair, free and united," he told AFP.
A simple majority of 112 seats is required by a party or alliance to rule, a number Mahathir said his Pakatan Harapan, or Alliance of Hope, secured to defeat Najib's ruling coalition Barisan Nasional.
Asked if he would take action against Najib over the financial scandal, Mahathir said he will not seek "revenge".
"We are seeking to restore the rule of law," Mahathir told reporters early Thursday.
There was no immediate comment from officials with BN. Najib, who has ruled the Southeast Asian country for nearly 10 years, is expected to address the media at 11am local time (03:00 GMT) on Thursday.
Mahathir's return to the political frontlines saw him throw in his lot with an opposition alliance filled with parties that he crushed while in power, and which includes jailed opposition icon Anwar Ibrahim -- his former nemesis. Anwar is due to be released from prison in June. Mahathir has vowed to get him a royal pardon, and later hand over the premiership to him.
As well as seizing control of the national government, several state legislatures across the country fell into opposition hands for the first time, including the highly symbolic bastion of Johor, the birthplace of Najib's party that was the lynchpin of the ruling coalition.
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