Malaysia to hold closely contested polls on May 5

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:55am EDT

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak speaks to Reuters at his office in Putrajaya outside Kuala Lumpur March 26, 2013. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak speaks to Reuters at his office in Putrajaya outside Kuala Lumpur March 26, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Bazuki Muhammad

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PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia (Reuters) - Malaysia will hold general elections on May 5, the Election Commission said on Wednesday, in what could be the toughest test of the ruling coalition's 56-year grip on power in Southeast Asia's third-largest economy.

Election Commission Chairman Abdul Aziz Yusof said candidates will be nominated on April 20, meaning a two-week campaigning period. He was speaking to reporters at the country's administrative capital of Putrajaya.

Opinion polls suggest a narrow victory for the National Front led by Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is under pressure to restore the two-thirds majority the coalition lost for the first time in 2008. He faces a confident opposition led by former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim.

(Reporting By Siva Sithraputhran; Editing by Niluksi Koswanage and Paul Tait)

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