Sin­ga­pore to hold snap elec­tion on Sept. 11; PM seeks new term

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY BHA­VAN JAIPRA­GAS

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.

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