GPS wins local elections in Malaysia

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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: An alliance backing Malaysia’s ruling coalition won a landslide victory in Borneo state’s parliamentary elections on Saturday, as the country prepares for a general election, possibly as early as next year.

The Sarawak Parties Alliance (GPS) won at least 75 of 82 seats in a contest that saw 349 candidates competing for control of the country’s largest state, Sarawak.

The outcome for a siege remains unresolved as the vote count has not been taken due to bad weather and cut roads as unusually heavy rainfall hits the tropical nation, election officials said.

The quadripartite bloc is aligned with the government of Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob at the national level, and their victory could give his coalition a boost.

This follows a victory for Ismail Sabri’s party in another local poll last month, and could fuel expectations for a general election call next year.

The result of Saturday’s polls means the GPS could play a kingmaker role in the next federal election, offering support to whoever seems to have the best chance of coming out on top, an analyst said.

“Any coalition that wins a majority of seats in the next election will not have to worry about GPS’s hold on Sarawak,” James Chin, University of Tasmania political scientist, told Agence France-Presse. .

“They will go with whoever forms the government.”

When will the national surveys take place?

The government and the opposition have agreed not to dissolve parliament for national elections until July next year, with officials focusing on tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

But speculation is mounting that a vote could be called soon after that. A national election is due to take place no later than mid-2023.

Malaysian politics have been in turmoil since early 2020, when a reformist government led by Mahathir Mohamad collapsed after less than two years in power due to internal feuds.

He was replaced by a weak coalition, which itself collapsed earlier this year, paving the way for Ismail Sabri to land the leadership of his United Malays National Organization (UMNO) party.

He was appointed prime minister directly for fear that a general election had worsened the Covid-19 epidemic.

UMNO ruled Malaysia continuously for decades until it lost power at the polls in 2018 following a series of corruption scandals.

The result in Sarawak was yet another blow to opposition veteran Anwar Ibrahim and his Pact of Hope front, which won just two seats.

The opposition alliance has never succeeded in gaining a solid foothold in Sarawak.


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