Malaysia ruling coalition leads early poll results

Malaysia’s ruling coalition won the early results on Sunday in an election that could weaken or even end its 56-year rule, with the majority of seats yet to be decided as it faces an opposition pledging to clean up politics and end race-based policies.

The ruling Barisan Nasional (BN), or National Front, won a string of parliamentary seats in its traditional stronghold of Sarawak state on Borneo island. But the opposition retained economically important Penang state as its leader Anwar Ibrahim sought to build on his alliance’s stunning gains in 2008, Reuters reports.

With less than a quarter of parliamentary results confirmed in the Southeast Asian nation, the National Front was leading with 37 seats to the opposition’s 13, according to the country’s Election Commission. A count by the independent Malaysiakini website gave the seat tally as 29 to 21 in favor of the coalition.

Either side needs 112 of 222 parliamentary seats to form a majority, although Prime Minister Najib Razak is under pressure to win back the two-thirds majority that the BN lost in the last national election in 2008. Final results are expected by early on Monday.

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