Malaysian king assumes throne a second time

Kuala Lumpur (ANTARA News/Reuters) - Rarely does a king ever get the opportunity to be crowned twice in his life. But under Malaysia`s unique electoral monarchy, Sultan Abdul Halim Mu`adzam Shah on Tuesday ascended the throne for a second time.

Malaysia`s chief justice installed Sultan Abdul Halim as the new king for a five-year term in a traditional ceremony at the State Palace in Kuala Lumpur. He was ushered to the dais under a royal spear guard and the coronation was announced with a 21-gun salute.

The country`s nine sultans, who preside over states in peninsular Malaysia, take turns as monarch. Meeting as the Conference of Rulers every five years, they elect by secret ballot one of their brethren to be Yang di-Pertuan Agong, which literally means "He who is made Lord", but is usually translated as "Supreme Ruler".

Sultan Abdul Halim, who presides over the northern state of Kedah, took the throne for the first time in 1970. He is the first Malaysian king to be elected twice to the job, and believed to be the first in the world.

Cambodia is the only other country with an elected monarch.

Candidates of royal blood are chosen to be king for a life term by its Royal council of the Throne.

In Malaysia`s constitutional monarchy, the king`s role is largely ceremonial. He confirms appointments made by the prime minister and is the guardian of Malaysia`s official religion, Islam.(*)