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Campaigning starts in Malaysia's May 9 tight election race

Former Malaysian strongman Mahathir Mohamad meets with local community in Langkawi, Malaysia, Friday, April 27, 2018. Malaysian general elections that...
A motorcycle passes by an election poster of former Malaysian strongman Mahathir Mohamad  in downtown Langkawi, Malaysia, Friday, April 27, 2018. Mala...
A motorcyclist rides past the flag of Malaysia's ruling National Front coalition, or Barisan Nasional in Pekan, Malaysia, Friday, April 27, 2018. Mala...
A small hut is decorated with flags of Malaysia's ruling National Front coalition, or Barisan Nasional in Pekan, Malaysia, Friday, April 27, 2018. Mal...
Flags of Malaysia's ruling National Front coalition, or Barisan Nasional, are displayed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Friday, April 27, 2018. Malaysian g...
Former Malaysian strongman Mahathir Mohamad speaks as he meets with local community in Langkawi, Malaysia, Friday, April 27, 2018. Malaysian general e...
Flags of Malaysia's ruling National Front coalition, or Barisan Nasional, are displayed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Friday, April 27, 2018. Malaysian g...

Former Malaysian strongman Mahathir Mohamad meets with local community in Langkawi, Malaysia, Friday, April 27, 2018. Malaysian general elections that...

A motorcycle passes by an election poster of former Malaysian strongman Mahathir Mohamad in downtown Langkawi, Malaysia, Friday, April 27, 2018. Mala...

A motorcyclist rides past the flag of Malaysia's ruling National Front coalition, or Barisan Nasional in Pekan, Malaysia, Friday, April 27, 2018. Mala...

A small hut is decorated with flags of Malaysia's ruling National Front coalition, or Barisan Nasional in Pekan, Malaysia, Friday, April 27, 2018. Mal...

Flags of Malaysia's ruling National Front coalition, or Barisan Nasional, are displayed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Friday, April 27, 2018. Malaysian g...

Former Malaysian strongman Mahathir Mohamad speaks as he meets with local community in Langkawi, Malaysia, Friday, April 27, 2018. Malaysian general e...

Flags of Malaysia's ruling National Front coalition, or Barisan Nasional, are displayed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Friday, April 27, 2018. Malaysian g...

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Campaigning has formally started for Malaysia's May 9 general elections that will determine if scandal-plagued Prime Minister Najib Razak's coalition can extend nearly 61 years of unbroken rule against an unprecedented challenge led by nonagenarian former strongman Mahathir Mohamad.

Scores of election candidates submitted nomination papers at their home constituencies on Saturday, paving the way for the start of an 11-day campaigning period.

Najib, escorted by supporters waving party flags, filed his nomination in Pekan in central Pahang state. Mahathir, who was one of Asia's longest serving rulers for 22 years until his retirement in 2003, registered to run in the northern resort island of Langkawi.

About 14.98 million Malaysians will cast ballots to fill 222 seats in federal Parliament and choose representatives for 12 state legislatures.