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What Early Elections in Malaysia Would Mean for the Prime Minister and Ruling Party

MIN READSep 21, 2022 | 21:45 GMT

Royal Malaysian Air Force helicopters fly past a building during the 65th National Day parade at Independence Square on Aug. 31, 2022, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Royal Malaysian Air Force helicopters fly past a building during the 65th National Day parade at Independence Square on Aug. 31, 2022, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

(Photo by Annice Lyn/Getty Images)

Malaysia's ruling UMNO party intends to call an early general election this year amid an inter-party schism that may lead to the ouster of the prime minister, likely weakening the rule of law and potentially disrupting ongoing economic recovery efforts. On Sept. 17, Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said he intends to move forward with an early general election this year, with the final decision and date to be determined at a party meeting on Sept. 30. While the authority to dissolve parliament and call a new election formally lies in the hands of Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah of central Pahang, in practice the ruling United Malays National Organization party's (UMNO) leadership exercises a large degree of de facto control over the decision; however, the party must still convince Ismail to petition the sultan. The majority of UMNO members want an early election to capitalize on the opposition's...

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