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The country’s king picked the longtime opposition leader for the top job after elections ended in a hung parliament

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia—Longtime opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was sworn in as Malaysia’s prime minister, capping his decadeslong quest for the top job and ending a scramble by opposing political coalitions to shore up support after elections last week failed to produce a clear winner.

Mr. Anwar’s rise to the premiership comes after a tumultuous career in which he was imprisoned twice, then came close to the role a few years ago after teaming up with his mentor-turned-nemesis. His government will now have to contend with a divided electorate, a fragile economic recovery and the rise of an ultraconservative Islamist movement that allied with his rivals during the election.

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