The winning political party led by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong enjoys the usual victory ride. (Photo courtesy by AFP)
SINGAPORE – Singaporean voters have delivered a victory to the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) in Friday’s general election, according to the official election results.
The PAP won 83 of the 93 parliamentary seats in the polling, compared to 83 of the 89 seats in the last general election in 2015, showed the results revealed by Returning Officer Tan Meng Dui early on Saturday morning.
The ruling party garnered 61.24 percent of the votes, compared to 69.86 percent in the 2015 general election.
A total of 191 candidates from 11 political parties and an independent candidate contested in the election.
The whole country is organized into 14 Single Member Constituencies (SMCs) and 17 Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs), with a total number of 2.65 million eligible voters. A total of 96 percent of the eligible voters cast their votes in the election.
The PAP won a victory in 13 SMCs and 15 GRCs.
The Workers’ Party (WP), which got six seats in the 2015 election, secured 10 seats this year, becoming the only opposition party to succeed in some constituencies.
The WP retained their seats in Hougang SMC, five-member Aljunied GRC, and took hold of the newly-formed four-member Sengkang GRC, narrowly defeating the PAP team helmed by Ng Chee Meng, minister in the Prime Minister’s Office.
The PAP team’s failure in Sengkang GRC meant the party lost three office-holders from its fourth-generation leadership, which also includes Lam Pin Min, who served as Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Transport, and Amrin Amin, who served as Senior Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Health.
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, along with his East Coast GRC team members, won with 53.41 percent of the votes while the WP team attracted the rest 46.59 percent.
Heng moved from Tampines GRC where he had served for nine years to East Coast GRC this year. As Heng is widely viewed to be Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s successor, analysts believe a hard battle will help cement his position in PAP.
The prime minister and his team won Ang Mo Kio GRC with 71.91 percent of the votes. This election has carried Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to what is likely his last victory before retirement as a national leader who had noted before the election in an online rally that he would hand over the country “intact and in good working order” to the next team.
The PAP team also safeguarded the West Coast GRC by challenging the 80-year-old politician Tan Cheng Bock, who formed the Progress Singapore Party last year. Tan lost the presidential election in 2011 with a narrow margin.
Lee told a press conference early on Saturday morning that the percentage of popular votes that the PAP had won is not as high as he had hoped for, but the results reflected the broad-based supports for the PAP.
He said the results reflected “the pain and anxiety” felt by Singaporeans in this crisis and the clear desire for a diversity of voices in the parliament.
With the election over, it is time for Singaporeans to put aside their differences and come together to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic, protect jobs and “create the future together,” the prime minister said.
Amid the spread of the virus, Singapore’s President Halimah Yacob dissolved the parliament and issued the Writ of Election on June 23. The contesting candidates spent nine days campaigning since the nomination day.
After a cooling-off day on Thursday, the polling was held on Friday when voters went to 1,100 polling stations nationwide to cast their votes.
The polling hours were formerly announced to be from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time, which was later extended by two hours.
Additional protective measures taken in the election such as voters sanitizing their hands and wearing disposable gloves before receiving the ballot papers may have triggered the long queues at some polling stations. (Xinhua)