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Malaysia Ruling Coalition Remains in Power Amid Opposition Election Gains

  • VOA News

Malaysian election officials say Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's ruling coalition won a simple majority in Saturday's general election.

But the win is tempered by big gains for opposition parties, making the election the worst showing ever in the National Front coalition's roughly 50 years of rule.

It is also the first time the National Front's two-thirds majority in parliament has been threatened.

Analysts say voter anger over religious and ethnic discrimination has fueled opposition gains.

At least two of Malaysia's 13 state legislatures in the northern states of Penang and Kedah have switched to opposition majorities. Opposition parties retained control in one other Kelantan. And with votes still being counted, opposition leaders say they will pick up a majority in at least one more in the central state of Selangor.

Previously, the ruling National Front controlled all but one state legislature.

At least one of the National Front's cabinet ministers (Samy Vellu) has lost his seat in Parliament.

Official election results are not expected until Sunday.

There were some reports of violence and accusations of fraud in Saturday's voting.

Malaysian police have banned victory parades citing security concerns.
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