Jun 11, 2007

PM's popularity soars after wedding

Interesting!. A re-married PM is more popular than a widower PM.

(AFP) KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Malaysia's Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is enjoying a wave of popularity after re-marrying, with analysts Sunday predicting the move will boost his leadership.

Abdullah, 67, exchanged rings with 53-year-old Jeanne Abdullah, his petite former sister-in-law, in a private ceremony on Saturday.

Shamsul Amri Baharuddin, a political analyst from the National University of Malaysia, said Abdullah's second marriage was a positive boost to his image.

"Marriage in any culture is always a positive thing, even among friends and foes. Malaysians are cheering for him," Shamsul told AFP.

Abdullah stunned the country last Wednesday when he announced he was getting married again. His first marriage to Endon was widely seen as a model relationship in Malaysia, as they were regularly seen holding hands and exchanging affectionate kisses at public functions.

She died from breast cancer in October 2005.

Almost immediately after Saturday's wedding, the couple paid respects to Endon at her grave.

"This was an admirable thing for Abdullah to do ... he will be admired for his display of sincerity," Shamsul said.

Abdullah also received congratulatory messages from the country's opposition group, the Democratic Action Party, DAP.

"There has been great public admiration for the prime minister soldiering on in handling his onerous task alone," DAP secretary-general, Lim Guan Eng said.

"Now ... Malaysians are happy for his new-found bliss," Lim said.

New wife Jeanne is the former manager of his residential complex. Her previous marriage to Endon's younger brother ended in divorce 15 years ago.

"I can't help feeling so happy for him and Jeanne," said Louisa Ng, a 53-year-old housewife. "He deserves a partner."

Works Minister S. Samy Vellu even took time to pen a short poem to Abdullah.

"From this day forward, you shall not walk alone. Her heart will be your shelter, and her arms will be your home," the poem read, according to state Bernama news agency.

Abdullah succeeded former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad in 2003 and won a landslide victory during the 2004 election, but has been criticised for his lacklustre leadership and for failing to live up to his pledge to fight corruption.

"Perhaps now he will be more focused in running the country and deliver all his promises to the people," Shamsul said.

Abdullah and Jeanne will make their first joint public appearance at the wedding reception of the Sultan of Brunei's daughter on Monday.

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