Malaysia's King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah said on Tuesday that he will pick the next prime minister soon, but did not specify a timing for his decision, as the political crisis from an inconclusive election dragged on for a third day.
Saturday's election resulted in an unprecedented hung parliament, with neither of the two main prime minister contenders - opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and former premier Muhyiddin Yassin - winning the simple majority needed to form a government.
The election prolongs political instability in the Southeast Asian nation, which has had three prime ministers in as many years, and risks delays to policy decisions needed to galvanize an economic recovery.
The incumbent Barisan Nasional coalition said it would not support either candidate, a move that would prevent both Anwar and Muhyiddin from reaching a majority.
It is now up to the constitutional monarch, who plays a largely ceremonial role but can appoint whoever he believes will command a majority.
"Let me make a decision soon," the king told reporters outside the national palace.
He also asked Malaysians to accept any decision about the government formation.
The king had given political parties until 2 pm (0600 GMT) on Tuesday to put together alliances needed for a majority.