Singapore ruling party wins general election

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Singapore’s ruling party won the general election in the latest poll to be held during the coronavirus pandemic, but won one of the lowest popular votes in the country’s history.

The Popular Action party – in power since 1959 – won elections on Saturday morning with 61% of the vote. While obtaining a super majority in the Parliament of 93 seats, the share of the votes of the PAP was close to the record low of 60% reached in 2011.

“We have a clear mandate,” said Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore. “But the percentage of popular vote is not as high as I hoped and we have lost a RCMP [group representation constituency, a division where teams of candidates rather than individuals run for election]. However, the result reflects broad support for the PAP. ”

The opposition almost doubled its parliamentary seats, with the Workers’ Party increasing its number of elected candidates from six to 10, the highest number since Singapore held its first general election as an independent nation in 1968.

In addition to defending two constituencies, the workers’ party won a third, the new electoral district called Sengkang. It is only the second RCMP obtained by the opposition since 1968.

“The results seem surprising at first glance, but it is in fact a continuation of the trends established in 2011,” said Kevin Tan, assistant professor at the National University of Singapore. “What was accomplished in 2015 was exceptional because it was stimulated by the outpouring of emotion resulting from the SG50. [Singapore’s 50th independence anniversary] and [founding father] La mort de Lee Kuan Yew. »

The team led by Heng Swee Keat, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, won the East Coast electoral district of Singapore by a margin of 7%, among the lowest in the PAP in this election. Mr. Heng is widely regarded as the leader of Singapore pending, Mr. Lee indicating that he would resign when he turns 70 in 2022.

The PAP also had a slim margin of profit in one of its bastions in western Singapore, where the newly formed opposition Progress Singapore party – which was joined by Mr. Lee’s separated brother, Lee Hsien Yang – only lost 3%.

Quasi-authoritarian democracy is the last country to vote in the middle of the pandemic. While the daily number of new cases has been contained in recent weeks, an epidemic in the dormitories of migrant workers in Singapore earlier this year has propelled the number of city-state cases to one of the highest. the region. It reported 45,613 infections and 26 deaths.

Authorities have implemented security measures at polling stations, including temperature control, the use of contact tracing applications, and recommended voting slots to avoid overcrowding.

But for the first time in Singapore’s history, the election service extended voting hours from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. to ensure that everyone could vote in long queues in “a small number polling stations ”.

Long queues formed at the polling stations, especially in the morning, partly due to additional security measures, authorities said.

Opposition parties have criticized the extension of the vote. Tan Cheng Bock, secretary general of the PSP, said the last-minute change was “very irregular and compromises the integrity of the process.”

Paul Tambyah, President of the Democratic Party of Singapore, said that problems with the ballot – such as the suppression of voters’ use of gloves due to delays – showed “carelessness and expediency” in the outfit elections during the pandemic.

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