Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has dissolved parliament, setting up elections that could challenge his ruling coalition that has been in power for nearly six decades.
During a televised speech Wednesday, Prime Minister Razak hailed the achievements of his National Front coalition, saying he hopes the elections will deliver it a strong mandate.
Analysts expect a strong showing from the three-party coalition of ex-deputy prime minister Anwer Ibrahim. The opposition alliance took an unprecedented number of seats from the National Front during 2008 polls.
The election commission is expected to meet soon to establish a date for the vote, which is likely to happen in the next few weeks. Elections must be held within two months of dissolving parliament.
The ruling coalition has attempted to recover its past levels of popular support by introducing a series of reforms to improve the economy and grant greater civil liberties. The opposition has promised to address rampant corruption and reverse some government policies that favor ethnic Malays.
The National Front won just 147 out of 222 seats in the 2008 elections, losing much of its two-thirds majority in the parliament. It was the poorest result ever for the coalition, which has ruled Malaysia since it won independence from Britain in 1957.