Malaysia’s elections commission on Wednesday set May 5 to hold its long-anticipated general elections, a senior official said.

The deadline for nominations for the parliamentary and states polls was April 20, elections commission chairman Abdul Aziz Yusof said.

Prime Minister Najib Razak, who dissolved the parliament on April 3 to pave the way for the elections, described the announcement as “exciting news.” “Let’s act,” he wrote on micro-blogging website twitter.

Mr. Najib’s National Front, which has ruled for 56 years, is expected to face its toughest challenge yet from the opposition People’s Alliance coalition.

During the last general elections in 2008, the ruling party lost its two-thirds control of the parliament for the first time since it began governing the predominantly Muslim South-East Asian country in 1957.

A total of 13.3 million people were to vote for 222 parliamentary seats and 505 state assembly seats up for grabs.

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