Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak’s Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition continues to lose ground ahead of national elections but may scrape through to retain power while losing the popular vote, according to a poll released Tuesday.
The ruling bloc will retain a slim majority in parliament even though nearly two-thirds of about 15 million eligible voters will vote for the main opposition rival, Pakatan Harapan (PH), led by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, or other parties, independent pollster Merdeka forecast on what could be the closest-fought Malaysian election yet.
BN, which has ruled Malaysia throughout the nation’s 61-year history, will garner only 37.3 percent of votes, falling short of the 43.4 percent predicted to go to PH, an opposition coalition, the pollster said. The Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), which is not aligned with either coalition, is expected to get 19.3 percent of the vote, according to Merdeka.
In a survey a week ago, Merdeka had said BN would garner 40.3 percent of the popular vote while PH would pull in 43.7 percent of the popular vote.
While BN could lose the popular vote for the second straight election, it is expected to keep 100 of parliament’s 222 seats compared with 83 for PH and two for PAS, it said.
Merdeka pointed out that a “high number” of 37 seats are too close to call, implying that “voter turnout will be a critical factor in determining the outcome of many seats on election day.”
The coalition that wins at least 112 parliamentary seats will lead the government.
Full story: BenarNews
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