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Huge Turnout in Malaysian National Elections

Malaysians voted in record numbers in Sunday's national elections that analysts say could weaken or possibly end the ruling coalition's nearly 56 years in power.

Election officials said turnout in the country of 28-million people was about 80 percent, in what could be the closest vote since the National Front coalition took power half a century ago.

Early results show the Front holding a slight lead, mainly in its traditional rural strongholds, and the opposition running strong in urban constituencies, especially Kuala Lumpur. A final tally is expected early Monday.

There have been numerous rumors of cheating, including indelible ink to mark voters that can be easily washed off, and foreigners being flown in to vote.

The ruling bloc, headed by Prime Minister Najib Razak's United Malays National Organization, has not lost an election since independence from Britain in 1957.

But opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's three-party coalition hopes widespread grievances about the National Front will result in a surge of votes to propel them into power.

Voters are filling 222 parliamentary seats and a dozen seats for state lawmakers.

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