KUALA LUMPUR: The Umno polls began on Saturday (March 11) with elections for its three wings – Youth, Wanita and Puteri.
For the Wanita wing, Tan Sri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil will take on incumbent Datuk Seri Noraini Ahmad.
Shahrizat first became the Umno Wanita chief in 2009 but chose not to defend her post in the 2018 Umno polls, saying she wanted to let its younger members lead and handpicked Noraini to be her successor back then.
A total of two candidates will be contesting its permanent chairman post, two for the deputy Wanita chief posts and 61 for its exco posts.
For the Umno Youth wing, a total of four candidates will fight for the top post, followed by four for the deputy youth chief post, and 113 for the exco posts.
Some political observers have said that Dr Akmal Saleh and Datuk Arman Azha Abu Hanifah are having a head-to-head lead in the race for the Umno Youth chief's post.
The position is open as the incumbent - Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki - announced at the Umno general assembly in January of this year that he would not be defending the post.
For the Puteri wing, all eyes are on Datuk Khaidirah Abu Zahar, better known as Dira, who will be in a six-cornered clash for the top post.
On the polls themselves, Umno election committee chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad reminded all contenders to follow all guidelines set by the party in order to protect its image.
The official results for the three wings will be announced by Shahrir after the completion of the tallying process and further fine-tuning.
The final results for the polls will also be shown on the Umno Online Facebook page starting at 2pm on Saturday, and the results will be updated in stages.
The Umno elections are being held from Feb 1 to March 18, with the branch-level elections being held from Feb 1 to 26, followed by the elections for the Wanita, Youth and Puteri wings at the national level on March 11.
The Umno divisional delegates’ meetings and committee elections as well as contests for seats in the Umno supreme council will be held simultaneously nationwide on March 18.