(Bloomberg) -- Malaysia will hold its first state-wide snap election under Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s leadership on Nov. 20, according to the Election Commission.

Nomination day for the Malacca state polls is set for Nov. 8, while early voting will be held on Nov. 16, the commission said on Monday. 

The polls set the stage for Ismail’s first popularity test among voters and may serve as a gauge of his party’s strength ahead of a nationwide general election that’s due to be held on or before July 2023.

Malacca’s state legislative assembly was dissolved on Oct. 4 after four ally assemblymen announced that they had lost confidence in the state’s chief minister. Three of them are either members of Ismail’s party, the United Malays National Organisation, or its ally Bersatu. 

The snap election comes at a time where Malaysia’s rapid vaccine rollout has allowed the government to ease curbs on Covid containment measures. More than 91% of adults have been fully vaccinated as of Saturday, according to health ministry’s data.

A similar state election in Sabah in 2020 had led to a resurgence in Covid cases, which fueled public anger against former premier Muhyiddin Yassin and eventually led to the fall of his government in August.

(Corrects election date in first paragraph after Election Commission clarification)

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