Singapore to hold snap election on Sept. 11; PM seeks new term
Singapore will hold a snap general election on Sept. 11, officials said Tuesday as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong seeks a new mandate from voters worried over immigration and the high cost of living.
Despite a slowing economy the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), which has ruled for more than 50 years thanks to strict political controls and Singaporeans’ rising affluence, is expected to keep its overwhelming majority in parliament against a fragmented opposition.
But the party will be under pressure to improve on its electoral performance in 2011, when it won just 60 percent of votes cast — its lowest-ever share — despite retaining 80 of the 87 seats in a blockvoting system.
It will be the first election without the prime minister’s hugely influ- ential father, independence leader Lee Kuan Yew, who died in March.
The election department set the shortest possible campaigning period of nine days after President Tony Tan dissolved parliament at the prime minister’s request.
Lee, who has been in power for 11 years and had until January 2017 to hold an election, sought support in a Facebook post.
“I called this general election to seek your mandate to take Singapore beyond SG50, into its next half century,” he said, referring to the 50th anniversary of independence from Malaysia.
Singapore celebrated half a century as a republic on Aug. 9 with a massive parade which highlighted its rapid economic development and stability under PAP rule.
All eyes will be on whether the opposition can gain more than the seven seats it currently holds.