Poll closes in Malaysian election as nation waits for counting

Poll closes in Malaysian election as nation waits for counting

Poll closes in Malaysian election as nation waits for counting

Kuala Lumpur: Voters have a stark choice in Malaysia's election today: resurrect the country's 92-year-old former authoritarian leader or give a third term to Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose alleged role in the multibillion-dollar ransacking of a state investment fund has battered Malaysia's standing overseas. The vote count was continuing, however.

The main players include the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, which is expected to win by a narrow margin, and opposition parties Pakatan Harapan, a coalition led by Mahathir, as well as Parti Islam Se-Malaysia.

"It would seem that we have practically achieved that figure". "There is no way they can catch up".

There are 222 seats in parliament, and 112 are needed for victory at the election with a simple majority.

There was no immediate comment from officials with BN, which has governed Malaysia for the past 60 years.

Journalists had flocked to the headquarters of Najib's United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the lynchpin in the ruling coalition - but he failed to turn up to give a victory speech and the media were told to leave.

The election pits an opposition led by former authoritarian leader Mahathir Mohamad against the ruling coalition of Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose image has been sullied by corruption allegations and an unpopular goods and services tax.

Najib is under pressure to score an emphatic win after the government lost the popular vote for the first time at the last elections in 2013, and observers say his position as prime minister could be under threat if he does not do well. He began a five-year sentence for sodomy in 2015, on a charge he and his supporters say was politically motivated, and is expected to be released early on June 8.

"It is likely there's some hanky-panky being done in order to frustrate the wishes of the people", he said at a hastily convened press conference just before midnight.

The title of Razak's blog, "The Right Choice to Make Malaysia Greater", is similar to Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign slogan "Make America Great Again".

Malaysian PM Najib Razak´s defeat ends the 60-year rule of his party
Malaysian PM Najib Razak´s defeat ends the 60-year rule of his party

As he left in a vehicle, Mahathir said, "I'm quite confident by the way people (have) come".

"Of course, political parties can declare whoever [they believe has won] but. please wait".

The unofficial results also saw PH wrestling several state seats from Barisan Nasional (BN).

Yet the perennial race card in Malaysian politics, that an opposition victory would pave the way for ethnic minority Chinese to dominate the country politically, is still a powerful subterranean force.

"There is a massive swing across races". Facebook groups were set up to coordinate the hand-delivery of precious postal votes by returning expats which may otherwise not have made it back in time. He has been a significant game changer. "The true heroes are the Malaysian people because they came out in overwhelming numbers so there could be no cheating", she said.

Faced with a reinvigorated opposition, the government has used the levers of power to further tilt the playing field in its favor, critics and analysts say.

Critics have accused the BN of gerrymandering with a redrawing of electoral boundaries that created constituencies more likely to back them, while activists have alleged numerous irregularities in the electoral roll.

They believe Mahathir's connection to rural Muslim voters can trigger what they have dubbed a "Malay tsunami" and unseat Najib's coalition after six decades in power.

"However, the signs point to unprecedented losses to the ruling BN".

"We certainly can conclude that the prime minister is a very skillful political player. when there's a skillful politician that still has considerable popular support, you'll also see that they tend to survive scandals like this", Van Der Wal said.

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