Singapore's ruling party stung by election results

Singapores ruling party seen retaining power but opponents make gains

The PAP has dominated politics since 1959, when Lee's father, Lee Kuan Yew, became Singapore's first prime minister and built the resource-poor city-state into one of the world's richest nations during 31 years in office.

Lee called the polls ahead of April 2021, when his government's mandate expires. Some see the election as a vote of confidence in the new leadership led by his designated successor, deputy and finance minister Heng Swee Keat.

This was not a "feel-good" election, said Lee, Singapore's third prime minister who faces the city state's worst recession with economy projected to shrink between 7 and 4 per cent.

But if confirmed, it would mean the opposition had gained four seats for their best ever election performance, significant progress against the long dominant PAP.

"This was not a strong endorsement of the new leaders", said Bridget Welsh, honorary research associate at the University of Nottingham Asia Research Institute Malaysia.

The ruling party, in power since independence in 1965, secured 61.24 per cent of the total votes cast in the election, down from 69.9 per cent in 2015.

Voting in Singapore's election was extended on Friday, after coronavirus infection control measures led to long queues and delays at polling stations.

"I'm honoured and humbled by the faith Singaporeans have put in the PAP", he said.


PAP argued that there was no need to vote in any opposition members because the scheme not only guarantees that opposition voices are represented in Parliament, it also gives them identical voting rights as MPs. Party member Dennis Tan retained the single member constituency seat of Hougang, defeating the PAP's Lee Hong Chuang. Two more non-constituency seats will be offered to top opposition losers to bring the opposition block to 12 seats, as provided for under the law, he said.

"Today's results are positive, but we have to hit the ground running".

But what is critical now, he said, was the task at hand, "which is to get us through the crisis safely".

The younger Lee said the PAP had turned into an elitist party with no checks and balances under his brother, and urged Singaporeans to vote fearlessly to deny the PAP a "blank check".

The tiny nation of 5.8 million people has reported more than 45,000 cases, a lot of them foreign workers living in crowded dormitories that were overlooked in the early phase of its crisis management.

The younger Lee joined an opposition party last month but did not run in the election. The tiny nation of 5.8 million people has reported more than 45,000 cases, majority foreign workers living in crowded dormitories that were overlooked in the early phase of its crisis management. It has reported more than 45,000 infections, including 26 deaths.

With the economy forecast to shrink this year by up to 7 per cent, Lee's government has unveiled several economic assistance packages totalling almost 100 billion Singapore dollars (NZ$109.41 billion) but warned the full economic impact hasn't been felt yet. Voters heading to the polling stations are "strongly encouraged" to check the queue situation before setting off, the ELD said. The Election Department also dropped a requirement that disposable gloves be worn during voting to cut waiting time. Election workers are wearing full protection gear. Another 360 Singaporeans who have been given stay-home notices and those with fever are allowed to vote only during the last hour, with extra precautions being taken.

"This will spread out the NCMPs more evenly and make them more representative of voters who had voted for the opposition nationwide in the General Election".

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