MALAYSIA: Significant changes to the national political landscape
Javier Gil | May 23 2013
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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