Malaysians will cast their vote on May 9 in what will be a showdown between Prime Minister Najib Razak and Mahathir Mohamad, the nation’s longest-serving premier.
The campaign period will be shortened to 11 days, from 15 days in the 2013 election, with the nomination day for candidates set for April 28, Mohd Hashim Abdullah, chairman at the election commission, told reporters on Tuesday.
At stake is 60 years of unbroken rule by Barisan Nasional coalition, with Najib, 64, at its helm. He seeks to extend his premiership for a third term, after leading his alliance to its worst showing in the previous election, when it lost the popular vote and won control of the parliament by its slimmest-ever margin five years ago.
His contender is the 92-year-old Mahathir, who is leading opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan on a campaign anchored on removing Najib.
“Setting the election date on a weekday is tactically advantageous for BN because it makes it more troublesome for urbanites to cast their votes,” Alan Richardson, a fund manager at Samsung Asset Management Ltd. in Hong Kong said by email.
“Urbanites seem to have the most complaints against the ruling government.”