(CNN) -- Election authorities in Malaysia on Thursday set March 8 as the date for new elections, according to the Malaysian National News Agency.
The path was cleared on Wednesday when King Sultan Mizan Zainal Abi dissolved parliament on Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's request, according to Abdullah.
Abdullah's term as prime minister was to expire in June 2009, and Parliament would have been dissolved and new elections held then, had Abdullah not acted, said Baradan Kuppusamy, a journalist who has covered numerous Malaysian elections.
Concerns have been simmering over rising food and fuel prices that many analysts expect to worsen next year, Kuppusamy added.
Malaysian prime ministers have traditionally sought the dissolution of parliament several months before the end of their term in hopes their party would prevail in fresh elections, Kuppusamy said.
Abdullah's coalition party, the National Front, was expected to choose him to continue as prime minister if it captures a majority of seats in the next elections, Kuppusamy said.
The parliament was the 11th for the southeast Asian country, a constitutional monarchy, since its independence in 1957. E-mail to a friend
All About Malaysia