Wednesday, 27 February 2019

New politics dawning in pre-election Singapore

Opposition politician Chee Soon Juan says he senses unprecedented weakness in the ruling Peoples Action Party ahead of anticipated snap polls

Will elections come early in Singapore? Singaporeans have wondered ever since Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong hinted last year that the wealthy city-state might go to the polls earlier than they must be held by April 2021.

The opposition Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), for one, isn’t wasting any time waiting for an official announcement. At a campaign launch event on February 23, party leader Chee Soon Juan made his case for political change in the form of a “freer and more democratic” Singapore. 

He said his party aims to deny the long-ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) a two-thirds majority of seats in Parliament at the next election.

If they succeed, the PAP – the longest-governing incumbent party in Southeast Asia – would lose its ability to make constitutional amendments and be put in check by a parliamentary opposition in a way that’s never before been seen in the island-nation’s history.

Realizing this electoral goal will be a herculean task, Chee openly admits. The PAP has maintained overwhelming parliamentary supermajorities since achieving independence in 1965, making Singapore one of Asia’s most asymmetrical democracies.

Read the full story at Asia Times.

Nile Bowie is a writer and journalist with the Asia Times covering current affairs in Singapore and Malaysia. He can be reached at