Singaporean Election: PAP Secures 15th Consecutive Term in Government
Last updated on July 13th, 2020
The 18th general election in Singapore took place on July 10. It was the 13th election that used the first-past-the-post electoral system, since Singapore became independent in 1965. As of March 2020, voting was made mandatory in Singaporean elections for all the citizens aged 21 and above.
Once again, People’s Action Party has secured a term in Singapore’s government, defeating the opposition. This is the 15th consecutive term won by the PAP, since 1959. The 2020 Singaporean election saw the most ever contesting candidates in the history. The total of 192 candidates from 11 parties, out of which 40 were female candidates, surpassed the record set from the 2015 election.
Even though Singapore’s ruling party extended its consistent rule in Friday’s election, its voting share slipped to record low amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The analysts believe that it was the opposition parties’ historic involvement in this year’s Singaporean elections that accounted for PAP’s low records.
Well, countries like South Korea and Serbia also held polls amid the pandemic, but unlike Singapore, where the elections were held despite the warnings, the opposition parties in other countries pushed back on the plan calling it a clear threat to the civilians’ lives.
A report suggests that Singapore has one of the lowest COVID-19 fatality rates in the world. Had it not been for the outbreaks in cramped migrant worker dormitories, the lockdown measures in Singapore could have been removed long ago. As a protective measure, the Singaporean government has been forced to keep the schools and businesses closed for a longer time.
Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who has actually held power since 1965, before his retirement as the national leader, has successfully secured his last victory. In the present elections, the main opposition, Workers’ Party of Singapore, won the 10 seats held by the opposition lawmakers in the Singaporean parliament.
Meanwhile PAP secured 83 out of 93 seats in parliament even though its vote fell to 61 percent, down from 70 percent in the last elections that took place in 2015. The Workers’ Party broke its best record for its overall vote share with 50.49% of the votes, surpassing Singapore Democratic Party’s previous 1991 record.
Displeased with the drop in votes in 2020 Singaporean election, Lee said, “We have a clear mandate but the percentage of the popular vote is not as high as I had hoped for. The results reflect the pain and uncertainty that Singaporeans feel in this crisis… This was not a feel-good election.”
On the other hand, the opposition and their supporters somewhat remain contended with the results. Even though they did not manage to win, they are hopeful and took the result as a landmark show of strength. One major reason behind this complacency is the fact that Singapore has long been governed by tight rules around speech and assembly.
So, even if there is a small shift in PAP’s popularity, it could later bring major changes in the whole one-sided government structure. Encouraged by the thought, many Workers’ Party supporters honked horns, cheered and waved party flags, while keeping in mind the social distancing rules. Some even expressed their disappointment of the PAP and their unending ruling term in the country.
The anti-government supporters have raised job fears as the country faces deepest recession due to the COVID-19 lockdown. They even called for holding another Singaporean election. But the idea itself appears to be an unwise one amid the COVID-19 global threat.
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