The Election Commission (EC) has announced that the highly-anticipated 13th general election will take place on May 5, while the nomination of candidates will be held on April 20.
EC chairperson Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof (right) announced the dates after a special meeting at the headquarters in Putrajaya today, exactly a week after Parliament was dissolved.
This provides for a campaign period of 15 days.
The announcement was telecast ‘live’ by several television stations, which began the broadcast at 12.34pm.
State and parliamentary polls will take place simultaneously except in Sarawak, where the next state polls are not due till 2016.
Some 13.2 million Malaysians are eligible to vote this time around, with first-time voters making up about 3 million of this number.
GE13 is widely anticipated to be the closest in the nation’s electoral history.
BN, led by Najib Abdul Razak, is moving aggressively to win back a two-thirds majority in Parliament, which it lost in 2008.
Pakatan Rakyat, under Anwar Ibrahim, is aiming to extend the ‘political tsunami’ of 2008 into more states, especially in the south, even as it gears up for another push into Putrajaya.
In 2008, BN won 140 seats in the Dewan Rakyat, while Pakatan’s tally was 82.
Five of the 12 contested state legislatures went to Pakatan, which formed the state government for the first time in Penang, Perak (although it subsequently reverted to BN control), Selangor and Kedah. PAS retained its stronghold of Kelantan.
BN won 50.27 percent of the popular vote, while Pakatan took 46.75 percent.