Analysts expect lively battle for top posts at next Umno election

They predict stiff competition for the top two spots by party bigwigs.

(MalaysiaNow) – Analysts are expecting some zing in the next Umno election as a number of leaders seen as heavyweights will likely be jostling for the top two spots in the party.

Speaking to MalaysiaNow, they did not rule out the possibility that Umno vice-president Ismail Sabri Yaakob would run for the presidency given his growth in popularity among the grassroots since becoming the prime minister.

Ahmad Atory Hussain of Universiti Sains Malaysia however said that the position of prime minister is no guarantee that Ismail will be chosen as Umno president as several other challengers can be expected to put up a stiff fight.

Others whom he expects to run for president include Khairy Jamaluddin and deputy president Mohamad Hasan.

“Of course the vice-president and members of the Supreme Council or the ‘oldies’ dream of becoming the president,” he said.

Atory sees four individuals in particular as having the edge needed to win the support of the grassroots.

“Ismail is the prime minister while Tok Mat is the deputy,” he said, referring to Mohamad.

“Hishammuddin Hussein meanwhile is known by international leaders and Khairy has strong support from among the youth.”

As for former leader Najib Razak, Atory said he would not return as Umno president or prime minister any time soon.

Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, however, is more difficult to predict as his court cases are ongoing, he said.

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