Sunday, February 24, 2008

Malaysia's political parties kick off election campaign, ruling party expected to win easily

KEPALA BATAS, Malaysia - Malaysia's political parties formally started campaigning Sunday for general elections with fractious opposition groups joining forces in a bid to deprive the ruling coalition of a two-thirds parliamentary majority.

Hundreds of political heavy-hitters and first-time aspirants filed their nomination papers to contest 222 parliamentary constituencies and 505 state legislature seats. The process officially marked the start of a 13-day campaigning period ahead of the March 8 ballot.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was among the first to file his papers for the ruling National Front coalition in his traditional stronghold of Kepala Batas in northern Penang state.

Abdullah urged voters not to be swayed by the opposition, saying "their obsession is they want to deny the (government) the full support of the people."

More than 1,000 government loyalists thronged the nomination center to support Abdullah against a challenger from the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, or PAS. MORE YAHOO!'S HERE

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