Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was released from prison on Wednesday, three years after he was sentenced on sodomy charges he said were fabricated to sabotage his political career. At the center of his release was an unlikely alliance with newly sworn in Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who pushed for a royal pardon for Anwar despite having had him jailed 20 years earlier during his first term as prime minister. Anwar, who served as a top deputy to Mahathir before the pair’s falling out, was previously seen as his most likely successor. Mahathir has recently signaled once again that he wants to hand the reins over to Anwar, saying he’d be willing to step aside within two years so the reformist icon can take over. Anwar was met by a crowd of supporters outside a Kuala Lumpur hospital Wednesday following his release, with some shouting “Long live Anwar.” He was expected to later meet with Malaysian King Sultan Muhammad V to formally learn of his pardon.