Singapore election: Support for ruling party slips, opposition wins seats


Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) remained in power in an election held amid a pandemic crisis which hit the city state’s export-oriented economy and tourism.

Led by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the PAP – which has been in power since 1959 when Singapore still was a British colony – on July 10 received 61.25 per cent of the votes and won 83 out of 93 seats in parliament, securing a super majority even as its popular support slipped to a near-record low.

The Workers’ Party of Singapore with 11.22 per cent of the votes took the remaining ten seats, the most ever held by opposition lawmakers since the city-state’s first general election in 1968 and up from six seats in the previous election.

As third strongest party emerged the liberal, last year newly founded Progress Singapore Party led by Tan Cheng Bock which got 10.18 per cent of the popular vote and is now entitled to two seats for non-constituency members of parliament, which would be announced at a later date. Such MPs do not have privileges of ordinary members of parliament, but they can voice their opposition in the political process.

Polls also seen as referendum about how government handled Covid-19 outbreak

The PAP’s share of the popular vote slid down from nearly 70 per cent five years ago and close to the party’s record low of 60 per cent in 2011. Overall, the election saw a voter turnout of nearly 96 per cent of around 2.56 million registered voters and was widely seen as a referendum on the government’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

“We have a clear mandate but the percentage of the popular vote is not as high as I had hoped for,” Prime Minister Lee said, adding that “the results reflect the pain and uncertainty that Singaporeans feel in this crisis.”

The PAP victory now brings Lee yet another five-year term in office. The son of country’s founding father and long-time ruler Lee Kuan Yew, Lee has been in office since 2004, but has indicated the forthcoming term will be his last.

The PAP’s two-thirds majority gives him a virtually free hand in passing key bills, although the party leadership is expected to start some soul-searching with the diminished popular support.

Meanwhile, supporters of the Workers’ Party have been celebrating on the streets, with honking horns and waving party flags as the results seemingly surpassed the expectations of the opposition. The center-left Workers’ Party led by Pritam Singh is the only opposition party represented in the parliament of Singapore.

Eight other opposition parties were challenging the PAP in the 2020 election, but none of them received a seat.

Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) remained in power in an election held amid a pandemic crisis which hit the city state’s export-oriented economy and tourism. Led by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the PAP – which has been in power since 1959 when Singapore still was a British colony – on July 10 received 61.25 per cent of the votes and won 83 out of 93 seats in parliament, securing a super majority even as its popular support slipped to a near-record low. The Workers' Party of Singapore with 11.22 per cent of the votes took the remaining ten...


Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) remained in power in an election held amid a pandemic crisis which hit the city state’s export-oriented economy and tourism.

Led by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the PAP – which has been in power since 1959 when Singapore still was a British colony – on July 10 received 61.25 per cent of the votes and won 83 out of 93 seats in parliament, securing a super majority even as its popular support slipped to a near-record low.

The Workers’ Party of Singapore with 11.22 per cent of the votes took the remaining ten seats, the most ever held by opposition lawmakers since the city-state’s first general election in 1968 and up from six seats in the previous election.

As third strongest party emerged the liberal, last year newly founded Progress Singapore Party led by Tan Cheng Bock which got 10.18 per cent of the popular vote and is now entitled to two seats for non-constituency members of parliament, which would be announced at a later date. Such MPs do not have privileges of ordinary members of parliament, but they can voice their opposition in the political process.

Polls also seen as referendum about how government handled Covid-19 outbreak

The PAP’s share of the popular vote slid down from nearly 70 per cent five years ago and close to the party’s record low of 60 per cent in 2011. Overall, the election saw a voter turnout of nearly 96 per cent of around 2.56 million registered voters and was widely seen as a referendum on the government’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

“We have a clear mandate but the percentage of the popular vote is not as high as I had hoped for,” Prime Minister Lee said, adding that “the results reflect the pain and uncertainty that Singaporeans feel in this crisis.”

The PAP victory now brings Lee yet another five-year term in office. The son of country’s founding father and long-time ruler Lee Kuan Yew, Lee has been in office since 2004, but has indicated the forthcoming term will be his last.

The PAP’s two-thirds majority gives him a virtually free hand in passing key bills, although the party leadership is expected to start some soul-searching with the diminished popular support.

Meanwhile, supporters of the Workers’ Party have been celebrating on the streets, with honking horns and waving party flags as the results seemingly surpassed the expectations of the opposition. The center-left Workers’ Party led by Pritam Singh is the only opposition party represented in the parliament of Singapore.

Eight other opposition parties were challenging the PAP in the 2020 election, but none of them received a seat.

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