Malaysia general elections set for May 5

  • A general election is to be held in Malaysia on May 5, the Election Commission announced on Wednesday.

    The polls are set to be a major test for Prime Minister Najib Razak's ruling coalition.

    The ruling National Front party has been in power for 56 years. However, the opposition has been gaining support on the back of a pledge to stamp out corruption.

    In 2008, the National Front lost its two-thirds parliamentary majority for the first time.

    Formal campaigning is scheduled to kick off on April 20.

    Last week, Najib dissolved parliament and will serve as caretaker prime minister until the elections.

    Opinion polls suggest a marginal win for the National Front.

    Anwar Ibrahim, who leads the opposition, belongs to a large coalition that includes moderates, Islamists and Malaysians of Chinese descent.

    He once served as deputy prime minister under the National Front but stepped down after falling out with former PM Mahathir Mohamad in 1998.

    Anwar was imprisoned for misuse of power for six years. He was also charged with sodomy twice but cleared on both occasions.

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