Malaysia's Opposition Leader Anwar Claims Majority after Vote, but Rival Does not Concede
Story Code : 1025866
The country went to the polls at an impressive 70-percent turnout on Saturday to elect legislators for the parliament's 219 seats.
The results gave Anwar's Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) coalition 82 and former Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, 73 seats -- an outcome that points to a hung parliament.
There are supposed to be 222 seats at stake, but two candidates died and voting in one district was suspended due to bad weather.
"We have now the majority to form a government," Anwar, however, told reporters at a dawn news conference on Sunday, sounding as if he was sure of securing enough parliamentary support that would give his coalition the key 111-plus seats that would cement his electoral victory.
Muhyiddin, who heads the rival Perikatan Nasional (National Alliance) grouping, also said he was in talks to form the next government.
"We are willing to work with any party," he told a presser.
Eyes are now on smaller regional parties, including those in Sarawak and Sabah on Borneo island, who could act as kingmakers by lending make-or-break support to either of the arch-rivals.
Anwar, though, claimed it would be "impossible" for Muhyiddin's bloc to form a majority.
Anwar's potential securing of Malaysia's top job would end his decades-long losing streak across the country's political sphere, where he would routinely end up as the also-ran.
He has campaigned on a promise to fight corruption in Southeast Asia's third-largest economy.
Also contesting the polls were jailed ex-Leader Najib Razak's scandal-hit Barisan Nasional Party, which trailed far behind with 30 seats, and former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, 97, who was roundly defeated in his own constituency.