05/06/2013, 00.00
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Elections in Malaysia: (narrow) government victory. Opposition cries fraud

The National Front retains power winning 133 seats out of 222. It is his worst result since independence. Prime Minister Najib promotes "national reconciliation". Anwar Ibrahim, who obtained 89 seats, denounces widespread irregularities. 80% voter turnout. Stock markets and local currency rebound.

Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews) - The ruling coalition won the elections in Malaysia by a narrow majority, but enough to confirm their 56 year hold on power. Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has denounced widespread fraud and seems willing to challenge the legality of the vote. According to the results provided by the Electoral Commission, the party of Prime Minister Najib Razak Barisan Nasional (Bn, National Front) won a total of 133 seats out of 222 up for grabs, the worst result in its history. In contrast, the opposition movement - made up of three different parties - won 89 seats, seven more than the previous Parliament.

This is the 13th consecutive win for the National Front since independence from Britain in 1957. The Electoral Commission reports an 80% voter turnout, more than 10 million people out of a total of 13 million registered voters. Shortly after the official announcement of the confirmation of the ruling party, thousands of voters close to the opposition have changed their image on social networks, replacing it with a black stamp in protest for (alleged) fraud and irregularities.

In contrast, the markets reacted positively to the confirmation of the outgoing government rebounding by 6.8 percentage points. Even the local currency, the tinggit, hit its highest value in the last 10 months.

At the news of the victory, Prime Minister Najib (59 years old) called on all Malaysians to accept the outcome of the polls, while predicting that in the next few months will be "hard work". Among the primary objectives, a program of "national reconciliation" especially aimed at regaining the consent of the ethnic Chinese inhabitants, who voted overwhelmingly for the opposition. A sign of protest against government policies that favour Malay citizens.

Allegations of fraud and irregularities are being made by the opposition leader Anwar, who recently returned to the political scene after a long period punctuated by legal problems that have also seen him tried on charges of sodomy. He describes the poll as "fraudulent" and the "failure" of the Election Commission to ensure its regularity. There are also allegations of threats and attacks on the independent media in the country, in a world where traditional newspapers and TV are firmly in the hands of the government parties.

In recent weeks, Catholic personalities interviewed by AsiaNews confirmed the framework of political uncertainty in a country where issues such as nationalism and Islamic identity are still "stronger than the economy." Ahead of the vote, the victory of the outgoing executive was seen as the most likely scenario "even with a minimum margin", thanks to issues related to "the conservation of the Malay race" used by the government as a means to attract the support of the masses.



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