Post-election Analysis

MALAYSIA: Significant changes to the national political landscape

On May 5th Malaysia held its thirteenth legislative elections since the country's independence. Simultaneously, twelve of the thirteen regional parliaments were renewed. 

These elections were much-anticipated by Malaysian society, as the high rate of turnout (84.4%) - the highest in its electoral history – attests. The trend was the same in the regional elections, where 85.2% of the electorate cast their vote. This high percentage of participation can be put down to, according to the latest electoral polls published, the existence of a real possibility of political change which prompted a major mobilisation effort both from the government and the opposition. The change did indeed eventuate electorally, given that the opposition won more votes than the government: 5,623,984 versus 5,237.699. However, the current government will remain in power due to the impact of the majority electoral formula, which produced a major distortion when converting votes into seats. Thus, Barisan Nasional obtained 47.38% of the total votes but 59.91% of the total seats. As for the opposition, despite winning 50.87% of votes, its share of seats was limited to 40.09%.
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