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6 Jan, 2019 14:49

Malaysian king abdicates throne weeks after marrying Russian beauty queen

Malaysian king abdicates throne weeks after marrying Russian beauty queen

Sultan Muhammad V has stepped down as Malaysia's king hot on the heels of his reported marriage to a Russian beauty queen.

The king’s future has been the source of rampant speculation since he took medical leave at the start of November last year. He was due to return to his duties earlier this week but instead issued a statement on Sunday announcing that he is abdicating the throne that he has held for only two years.

Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy with the unusual arrangement seeing the king selected from the royal rulers of the nine Malay states on a rotational basis, with each king’s term lasting five years. Muhammad V is the first monarch to abdicate the throne since the Muslim-majority country gained independence from Britain in 1957.

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In his statement, the 49-year-old expressed his gratitude to the Malay Rulers, who elected him in 2016. He also paid tribute to Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the government for their cooperation in governing the country.

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“During his tenure as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King), His Majesty worked to fulfill his responsibilities and the trust placed in him as the head of state, serving as the pillar of stability, the source of justice and as an umbrella of the solidarity and unity of the people,” the statement read, according to New Straits Times.

It added that the king is ready to resume working on the development of the state of Kelantan, where he is Sultan.

During his medical leave, Muhammad V reportedly married 25-year-old Russian beauty Oksana Voevodina, who won the Miss Moscow pageant in 2015.

The reports featured pictures of the November 22 wedding, showing the groom wearing traditional Malay garb while the bride wore a sparkling white wedding dress. The wedding is said to have taken place in a concert hall in the upscale Moscow suburb of Barvikha.

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Despite the images, Prime Minister Mahathir said then that he did not have official confirmation on the wedding when questioned about it earlier this week.

Muhammad V was previously married to a member of another Malay royal family in 2004 but the couple divorced in 2008. When he ascended to the throne in 2016 he became the first king in Malaysian history to reign without a consort.

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