Saturday, March 8, 2008

Malaysians Cast Their Votes

Malaysians voted Saturday Feb 8 in parliamentary and state elections that could see gains for Malaysia's opposition amid anger over race and religion among minority Chinese and Indians.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's coalition appeared certain to win the balloting as it has for decades.

However, analysts predicted the opposition would win between 35 and 38 seats in parliament, nearly doubling its 19-seat share of the 289-seat body amid growing disenchantment among ethnic minorities who complain of discrimination.

At stake are 222 seats in parliament, along with legislatures in 12 of Malaysia's 13 states.

Muslim Malays make up 60 percent of Malaysia's 27 million people, and form the bulk of voters for Abdullah's United Malays National Organization. The party dominates the National Front coalition, which includes Chinese- and Indian-based parties in a power-sharing arrangement that has ensured racial peace in this multiethnic country.

The National Front has won every election since independence in 1957. [AP]

But the opposition are a bit more optimistic targeting 90 to deny the current government's two-thirds majority. Wallahua'lam?

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