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Saturday October 19, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Saturday October 19, 2013 MYT 9:17:36 AM
PETALING JAYA: A new and larger voting base with no precedence in voting pattern has made it impossible to predict the outcome of the vice-presidential race.
Support levels are fluid for the six candidates who ended their campaigns ahead of polling today.
Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, who was seen as having a poor start in his campaign, is said to be enjoying a surge in support in the 11th hour.
When Datuk Mukhriz Tun Mahathir announced his candidacy, it was assumed that Hishammuddin would end up as the odd man out in the race. Since then, the Defence Minister has stepped up his campaign and utilised the social media to reach out to the grassroots.
His campaign got a further boost with a strong endorsement from Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin while Wanita chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil had praised Hishammuddin at a recent gathering.
Mukhriz started off on a strong note and received resounding support from delegates who sees him as a face of change in Umno.
What his campaigners probably did not expect was that the other candidates were all established leaders with stable support that he would have to win over in order to snap up one of the three slots.
Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad and Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam are seen as underdogs as they hold no government position and their campaigns have not attracted much media attention.
Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has been on the forefront of the race since Day One. He continues to be seen as the strongest candidate of the six and is expected to emerge first among equals, repeating his performance in the 2009 party polls when he secured the most votes for vice-president.
Previous elections in which divisional polls were held before the supreme council and vice-presidential elections would see campaigners wooing division chiefs.
It is difficult for them to do so this time as the elections are being held concurrently, leaving the campaigners unsure who to reach out to in order to influence the voting delegates from the branches.
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