Malaysian political leaders hit campaign trail ahead of Nov 19 elections

Malaysian political leaders began their election campaigning on Saturday for what is set to be aa highly competitive race that will see the world’s longest-serving coalition seeking to regain its dominance four years after a shocking electoral loss.

Polls and analysts suggest that no single party or coalition will win a simple majority in the 222-seat parliament, and that opposing alliances will have to come together to form the next government.

Around 21 million Malaysians are eligible to vote in the November 19th election, with inflation and recent political instability on the top of their minds in the backdrop of a slowing economy. Malaysia has had three premiers since the last election in 2018.

Rival coalitions are headed by Ismail, former premier Muhyiddin and long-time opposition leader Anwar. There are several other parties in the running, including one founded by another former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, a factor that is expected to split the votes more than ever before.

"This is the first time we are seeing three equally strong coalitions with experienced leaders contesting," said Adib Zalkapli, a director with political consultancy Bower Group Asia.

He said there was a high possibility that there won't be a clear winner in the polls, and that coalitions will have to negotiate to form a government.

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