On May 7, a by-election is to be held in a semi-rural district in Penang to fill the seat vacated unwillingly by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, when he was jailed in February for the second time on charges of sodomy. The results could determine whether the opposition, which has had success beyond imagining in the past two national elections, can get its obstreperous Islamic unit back into line, or whether it will be forced to reconfigure itself along new and different lines.

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