Malaysia’s King Al-Sultan Abdullah said he would choose the next prime minister on Tuesday shortly after the two leading candidates failed to secure a majority.
Still, he did not specify the timing of his decision, as the political crisis of an inconclusive election dragged on into the third day.
Saturday’s election resulted in an unprecedented hung parliament, with neither opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim nor former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin securing the simple majority needed to form a government
The election prolongs political instability in the Southeast Asian nation, which has had three prime ministers in as many years and risks delaying policy decisions needed to galvanize an economic recovery.
The king had given political parties until 2 p.m. (06:00 GMT) on Tuesday to forge the necessary alliances for a majority.
But the incumbent Barisan Nasional coalition said it would not support either candidate, a decision that prevented Anwar and Muhyiddin from achieving a majority.
It is now up to the constitutional monarch, who plays a largely ceremonial role but can name who he thinks will have the majority.
“Let me make a decision soon,” the king told reporters outside the national palace.
He also asked the Malaysians to accept any decision regarding the formation of the government.
In a later statement, the palace said no lawmaker had secured a simple majority to be appointed prime minister. He invited Anwar and Muhyiddin for an audience with the king at 4:30 p.m. local time (0830 GMT).
Uncertainty hit the Kuala Lumpur stock market, which fell for a second day on Tuesday. Significant electoral gains by an Islamist party have added to investor fears, particularly over gambling and alcohol policies.
His electoral gains have also sparked fears in multicultural Malaysia, with significant Chinese and Indian ethnic minorities following other faiths. The Islamist party PAS advocated for Sharia.
Malaysian police have warned social media users to refrain from posting “provocative” content about race and religion after the disputed election.