KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Prime Minister Najib Razak was sworn in to a second term Monday (May 6th), AFP reported. His ruling coalition, which has governed Malaysia since independence in 1957, held off a spirited opposition challenge to retain a firm parliamentary majority. However, it did not win a majority of the popular vote.
Meanwhile, supporters of the three-party Pakatan Rakyat (People's Pact) opposition alliance were left bitter and despondent. Many had hoped the election would result in a historic change of government, but instead the opposition scored only modest gains.
Barisan won 133 seats in the 222-member parliament, two fewer than in the last parliament. The opposition alliance won 89 seats, an increase of 14, largely at the expense of non-aligned candidates.
But the ruling bloc won just 48% of the popular vote compared to nearly 52% for the opposition. Critics say the results show the electoral system is skewed unfairly.
While Najib had vowed to hold free and fair elections, allegations of irregularities continued to surface. Outraged voters took to the Internet to complain that indelible ink touted as a guarantee against multiple voting was found to easily wash off.
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, charging that massive electoral fraud took place, is calling for a demonstration Wednesday at a stadium on the outskirts Kuala Lumpur. "The government has lost its legitimacy," Anwar said.
Najib has rejected those allegations and insists his side won fairly.