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Three-cornered bouts imminent as Harapan to name candidates by June 1

Three-cornered battles in the upcoming twin by-elections appear imminent as Pakatan Harapan announced that the coalition's candidates will be unveiled by June 1.

"The Pakatan Harapan presidential council today decided that its candidates for the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections will be announced at the latest, by June 1," said the coalition in a media statement today.

The decision was made in the absence of PKR deputy president Azmin Ali who was unable to attend the meeting held at the opposition leader's office in the Parliament building.

PAS has remained adamant on contesting the two seats which it lost with narrow margins to BN in the last general election.

Azmin had spearheaded negotiations with PAS to convince the party to withdraw from the Sungai Besar by-election in exchange for a straight fight between PAS and BN in the Kuala Kangsar polls.

As part of the negotiation, PKR would also contest in Sungai Besar as PAS would never compromise if Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah), its splinter party, contested.

However, negotiations fell apart as PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang refused to budge.

The 35-minute meeting was attended by PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Amanah deputy president Salahuddin Ayub, PKR secretary-general Rafizi Ramli, DAP organising secretary Anthony Loke and Pakatan Harapan chief secretary Saifuddin Abdullah.

Earlier today, Wan Azizah said the meeting might be cancelled due to the absence of several key leaders including Azmin and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.

"Many key leaders who are important are not around," she told a press conference.

However, it was later decided that the meeting would take place as scheduled. Had the meeting been cancelled, it would have been the third time.

The previous meetings were called off on the basis that Pakatan Harapan was still waiting for a response from PAS, which is not part of the coalition, on whether it agreed to make a concession.

Wan Azizah downplayed the repeated postponements, stating this had happened before even during the time of the coalition's predecessor Pakatan Harapan.

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