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Malaysia's Election Commission says national polls will be held May 5. The general elections will determine whether Prime Minister Najib Razak's governing coalition can extend nearly 56 years of uninterrupted rule and prevail over an opposition alliance that accuses it of corruption and authoritarianism.
Najib has promised regular cash allowances for the poor as one of numerous incentives for voters to hand his National Front coalition another five-year mandate.
The Election Commission said Wednesday formal campaigning will begin April 20. About 13.3 million Malaysians will be eligible to cast ballots to fill 222 seats in the federal Parliament and to choose representatives for 12 state legislatures.
The National Front won 2008 polls with less than a two-thirds parliamentary majority in its worst electoral performance since independence from Britain in 1957.