Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (äbˈdōllä äˈmäd bädäˈwē) [key], 1939–, Malaysian government official and politician. A graduate of the Univ. of Malaya (B.A. 1964) and the son of a prominent politician, he held a series of civil service posts, including deputy secretary general (1974–78) in the ministry of culture, youth, and sports, before entering politics. Abdullah was elected to parliament in 1978, and begin his rise in the government and United Malays National Organization (UMNO), serving as education (1984–86), defense (1986–87), and foreign minister (1991–99) and deputy prime minister (1999–2003). In 2003 he succeeded Mahathir bin Mohamad as prime minister of Malaysia. Calling for modern and progressive Islamic rule as well as reform, he led the National Front coalition to a landslide victory in the 2004 parliamentary elecitons. In 2008, however, the coalition suffered significant losses, although it retained a majority of the seats. Unhappiness within UMNO with those losses eventually led Abdullah to step down as coalition leader in Mar., 2009, and as prime minister the following month. Najib Razak succeeded him in both positions.
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