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BBC news:Mahathir Mohamad: Malaysian political survivor

At the age of 92, Mahathir Mohamad will become Malaysia's prime minister again.

He retired from the post in 2003, after 22 years at its helm. But came out of retirement to correct what he called "the biggest mistake in my life" - the elevation of incumbent leader Najib Razak to power.

Having fallen out with Mr Najib as well as the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party, he is now leading his long-time foes, the opposition Pakatan Harapan coalition, into battle.

Prior to the election, he said he intended to be prime minister for two years, before handing over to the coalition's currently jailed leader, Anwar Ibrahim.

Mr Mahathir's political drive and combative spirit for what many view as the near-impossible task of toppling the ruling coalition is no surprise to Malaysians.

Mr Mahathir joined UMNO at the age of 21 and ran a medical practice for seven years in his home state of Kedah before becoming a member of parliament in 1964.

In 1969 he lost his seat and was expelled from the party after writing an open letter attacking the then Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman.

He later wrote a controversial book entitled The Malay Dilemma. In it, he argued that the country's Malay population had been marginalised, but also castigated them for apathetically accepting a second-class status.

It struck a chord with younger UMNO leaders and he was invited back into the party, re-elected to parliament in 1974, and appointed minister of education. Within four years he had become UMNO's deputy leader and, in 1981, he became prime minister.

In January this year, he announced his intention to contest the election, at the age of 92.

On 9 May, he won a historic victory, ousting his former allies after more than 60 years in power.

To the surprise of many, he has admitted he was wrong on many things and apologised for them - not least for sacking Anwar Ibrahim.

Mr Najib has CRIticised Mr Mahathir's new political allegiance, calling him Malaysia's "number one actor" for making up with Mr Anwar and saying "I had to shake my head in disbelief seeing his antics."

Mr Abdullah, in a book about his time in power, has said of him: "Mahathir is set in his ways. And he believes that his way is the only way."

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