KUALA LUMPUR: Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has enough support from some 146,000 Umno delegates who voted today to choose the party’s top leaders.
With some 90% of the 191 divisional votes counted, Zahid leads comfortably against his closest rival Khairy Jamaluddin.
Meanwhile, veteran Umno leader Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah trails far behind, receiving only about 12% of the total divisional votes.
Zahid was the acting deputy president before he took over duties from Najib, who quit as president just days after Umno’s worst defeat in the general election last month.
He was appointed as the deputy prime minister in 2015, after Muhyiddin Yassin was sacked by Najib from the Cabinet following their fallout over 1MDB.
Zahid, a former aide to Najib when the latter was the Umno Youth chief in the eighties, had also served as deputy tourism minister, minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, defence minister and home minister.
As the Umno Youth chief, he was among those seen as critical of Dr Mahathir Mohamad during the 1997 general assembly, just a year before then deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim was dramatically sacked sparking protests in Kuala Lumpur.