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Malaysia's Ruling Party Selects New Leader


Malaysia's deputy prime minister has won leadership of the ruling UNMO party, making it likely he will become his country's next prime minister.

State media reported Sunday that at least 135 party members nominated Najib Razak to be party president. Razak's only challenger, lawmaker Razaleigh Hamzah, got only one nomination.

Under UNMO rules, a candidate to the party presidency must have the support at least 58 party members.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said earlier this month he would not try to win the party leadership. Mr. Abdullah has promised to step down in March and has thrown his support behind Razak.

By tradition the leader of the ruling party, which heads Malaysia's national coalition, becomes prime minister.

Malaysia's 13-party National Front coalition has been in power since Malaysia's independence in 1957.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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