- Title: MALAYSIA: POLITICS - Ballot boxes arrive at counting centres across the country
- Date: 5th May 2013
- Summary: KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA (MAY 5, 2013) (REUTERS) **CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY** EXTERIOR OF BUKIT BINTANG PARLIAMENTARY SEAT VOTING CENTER BANNER/MALAYSIAN FLAGS EXTERIOR OF CLASSROOM USED FOR VOTING VARIOUS OFFICIALS OF MALAYSIA'S ELECTION SEALING BALLOT BOX BALLOTS ELECTION COMMISSION OFFICER CLOSING DOOR CLOSED CLASSROOM ELECTION COMMISSION OFFICERS ARRANGING BALLOT PAPERS BALLOT PAPERS OFFICER BALLOT PAPERS ELECTION COMMISSION OFFICERS CARRYING BOXES AND BAG WITH BALLOTS BAG WITH BALLOTS ELECTION COMMISSION OFFICER SIGNING PAPERS OFFICER PUTTING DOWN BAG IN COUNTING CENTER ELECTION COMMISSION VOTE COUNTING OFFICER VARIOUS BALLOTS IN BAGS
- Embargoed: 20th May 2013 13:00
- Location: Malaysia
- Country: Malaysia
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA7WD4TXTLTS2SZ1YBAZ8RC325J
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Ballot boxes from polling stations were moved to counting centres on Sunday (May 5) as Malaysia's Election Commission prepared to count ballots in the country's most closely contested general election.
Polling stations across Malaysia closed at 5 p.m. local (0900GMT) on Sunday, after a full day of voting in an election which could weaken or even end the rule of one of the world's longest-lived coalitions.
The ruling government faces a stiff challenge from an opposition pledging to clean up politics and end race-based policies.
Led by former finance minister Anwar Ibrahim, the opposition hopes to build on startling electoral gains in 2008, when the Barisan Nasional, or National Front, ruling coalition lost its customary two-thirds parliamentary majority.
The result signalled a breakdown in traditional politics as minority ethnic Chinese and ethnic Indians, as well as many majority Malays, rejected the National Front's brand of race-based patronage that has ensured stability in the Southeast Asian nation but led to corruption and widening inequality.
Hundreds of people lined up outside polling stations across the country on Sunday morning, many of them first-time voters concerned about the rising living costs, higher crime and corruption in a government that has been in power for 56 years.
Under incumbent Prime Minister Najib Razak, the blue-blood son of a former leader, the coalition has tried to win over a growing middle class with social reforms and secure traditional voters with a $2.6 billion deluge of cash handouts to poor families.
Opinion polls suggest a tight race that could further reduce the coalition majority, lead the opposition to dispute the result over claims of fraud and spill over to street protests.
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