Despite losing the popular vote, Malaysia’s long-ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) triumphed again in the country’s 2013 elections, disappointing an emboldened opposition that had high hopes after a strong performance in 2008. Why and how did Najib and the BN win? What do the answers to those questions mean for his government and for democracy in Malaysia? In many ways, the 2013 polls typify those of competitive authoritarian systems, in which incumbents use finely honed tactics and institutional leverage to stay in office. But the 2013 general election also revealed social forces pushing for greater democracy. The nature of BN’s victory, the voting patterns, and the broader political forces within society point to continuing pressures for further democratization and high levels of political contestation in the future.


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pp. 136-150
Launched on MUSE
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