Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim says he is still on track to take power, despite being formally charged with sodomy.
told reporters in Kuala Lumpur Friday that he is close to convincing
enough lawmakers in the ruling National Front coalition to defect to
his three-party opposition coalition by mid-September.
The National Front has a 30-seat parliamentary majority after losing its two-thirds majority control in March elections.
former deputy prime minister pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges he
had sexual relations with a former male aide in June. The judge
granted him bail, allowing him to campaign in an August 26 by-election
for his old parliamentary seat in northern Penang state.
He faces a 20-year prison sentence if convicted.
is urging prosecutors to drop the charges, saying he has already "gone
through hell" when similar charges were brought against him a decade
He was forced out of the government in 1998 amid
accusations of sodomy and corruption. He spent six years in jail, but
was released in 2004 after a court threw out the sodomy charge. Anwar
has accused Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi of personally
orchestrating the case to destroy his political career.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.