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Branch chiefs want Anwar, Wan Azizah team to prevent infighting
PETALING JAYA: All 22 Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) divisions in Selangor are throwing their support behind husband-wife combo Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail to spearhead the party.
As a result, vice-president Azmin Ali and PKR Federal Territories chief Datuk Zaid Ibrahim are expected to pull out of the race for the deputy presidency.
Deputy chairman of the Selangor PKR Council of Leadership Consensus Abd Kudus Omar said the move was to quell the much-highlighted bickering for the deputy presidency's post in the November party elections.
"We, the grassroots leaders of Selangor PKR, are recommending to the party's top leadership to agree with either of the following proposals:
"Firstly, the status quo for the posts of president and deputy president, currently held by Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Senator Syed Husin Ali, be maintained. With this, those who have offered to contest for deputy presidency must withdraw," said Abd Kudus this morning at the party's PJS branch office.
"If this cannot be agreed upon, we are nominating de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as president and Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as deputy president.
"We believe this will put an end to all bickering for the deputy presidency's post, which is heavily highlighted in the media."
It was reported that Azmin and Zaid had been actively promoting themselves as contenders for the deputy presidency.
While Zaid had publicly announced his decision to contest, Azmin had yet to make it official. Several PKR Members of Parliament and State assemblymen had publicly declared their support for the Gombak MP, who is also the Bukit Antarabangsa assemblyman.
While this morning's announcement might eventually lead to the strange situation involving a three-cornered fight for the deputy presidency, Abd Kudus remains confident Azmin and Zaid will eventually pull out of the race for the sake of the party.
"They have all the right to contest and we will not stop them because our party practises democracy," said Abd Kudus.
"But these men are seasoned politicians. We are confident that they will prioritise the party's interests ahead of their own political ambitions."
Abd Kudus also stressed that the leaders' move to recommend Anwar and Wan Azizah to lead the party was not an indicator that they condoned nepotism.
"We are merely supporting the husband and wife to head the party in the consideration of preserving harmony."
Abd Kudus added that Dr Wan Azizah was a tested politician who had proven her ability to steer the leadership of the party during critical periods in the past.
Also present this morning were several other division leaders, including PJS chief Shariffudin Budin and Sabak Bernam chief Dr Badrul Amin.
Anwar has yet to mention whether he will contest the presidency, and it has been widely speculated that he would stay out to remain as the party's de facto leader, or "ketua umum", and allow his wife to stay as president.
Incumbent deputy president Syed Husin has also been keeping mum on whether he will defend his post in the upcoming election.