6 May 2006

Polls close in Singapore election

From the BBC:

Voting has taken place in the general election in Singapore.

The poll is the first electoral test for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong since his appointment in August 2004.

More than one million people were eligible to take part in polls, which closed at 2000 (1200 GMT). First results are expected within hours.

For first time in almost 20 years, the opposition was contesting more than half of the constituencies in the tightly-controlled city-state.

Final campaign rallies were held on Friday, with the governing People's Action Party (PAP) stressing what it calls its strong record on economic growth.

However, opposition groups have insisted the gap between rich and poor in Singapore is increasing.

The opposition has only two seats in the 84-member parliament.

It has little access to state-controlled media and its leaders are frequently sued for libel and bankrupted.


Taxi-driver Lee Kwok Seng, 44, said he was voting for the ruling party. "The government has given me safety and I don't want crime in Singapore," he was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying.

But the opposition has been attracting growing support.

WM Ng, 36, said PAP no longer represented his way of seeing things and he disagreed "with their heavy-handed style of government".

In the last vote, in 2001, only a third of voters were offered a choice of candidate, with the opposition fielding hopefuls for 29 seats.

This time the main opposition parties - the Workers' Party (WP), the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) and the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) - are together contesting 47 seats.

Mr Lee apologised on Friday for saying earlier in the week that he would be distracted by a stronger opposition.

"Instead of spending my time thinking of what is the right policy for Singapore, I have to spend all my time thinking what is the right way to fix them, what's the right way to buy my own supporters over," he said.

The BBC's Andrew Harding in Singapore says slowly, though, things are changing.

The internet has broken the government's stranglehold on the media, and a younger generation is starting to question the restrictions of Singapore's nanny state, our correspondent says.

That is not likely to translate into an election upset, he says, but any gains by the opposition could be interpreted as the start of a trend

Now we shall wait for the moment of truth...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


go to www.singaporealternatives.blogspot.com to leave a message of comfort and support for the WP team in Aljunied. Goh Meng Seng and company put up a good fight for 2 years even though he lost.

It is the least we can do,


Also sign up to join WP tommorow! Give us a choice in 2010 elections!