PUTRAJAYA, April 10 ― Malaysians will go to polls on May 5, the Election Commission (EC) announced today, starting the official countdown to when voters decide whether to keep the Barisan Nasional (BN) in government or usher in a new administration under Pakatan Rakyat (PR).
The election regulator, which met this morning, also set April 20 as the nomination date, which will signal the start of formal electoral campaigns.
Yesterday, commission chief Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Yusof hinted it may depart from tradition and fix polling for Election 2013 to take place on a weekday, but today stuck to the norm by choosing a Sunday.
Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced the dissolution of Parliament on April 3, four years to the date from when he took office in 2009, replacing Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as prime minister mid-term after the Penang lawmaker led Barisan Nasional (BN) to its worst performance since 1963.
The 13-party coalition lost its customary two-thirds majority in Parliament as well as five states in Election 2008.
Some 13.3 million Malaysians are eligible to vote in the 13th general election, touted to be a tight race between a formidable three-party Pakatan Rakyat and the BN, which has held federal power for an uninterrupted 56 years.
A total of 222 parliamentary and 505 state seats will be contested. Sarawak will sit out this round of elections as the Borneo state went to the polls in 2011.