BUTTERWORTH: Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi expects the 15th General Election (GE15) to be called within the next three years as Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad usually does not wait for a full five year term to make that decision. He said GE15 could be held between 2021 and 2022, although GE14 was concluded just over six months ago. "I know Tun (Mahathir), he does not wait too long as he likes to keep his foes off-balanced. We must be ready for any eventuality," Ahmad Zahid said at a meeting of Penang Umno leaders, here today. "So the preparations begin now. We must close ranks and stay united despite attempts to destabilise us either through internal or external means." Ahmad Zahid said there have been attempts by external parties using internal connections to dissolve the party. "But together with some 12 other Umno leaders who Mahathir despises, we will continue to resist any attempts to undermine the party," he said. He said one of the purposes of his nationwide tour is to drum up support for Umno from among its grassroots leaders. The former deputy prime minister also rubbished speculation that up to 40 Umno elected representatives would exit the party soon. "We have made a pact," he said. "We will leave the party en bloc, not individually. We will only leave it when our rivals or our previous leaders need us".