Singapore election: Ruling PAP wins in pandemic vote | News | DW | 10.07.2020
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Singapore election: Ruling PAP wins in pandemic vote

A general election in Singapore's saw the ruling PAP secure victory with a comfortable lead. The results, however, also showed an unexpected rise in support for the opposition and close races in some districts.

The ruling PAP won 61.2% of the vote in Singapore on Friday, securing 83 of the city-state's 93 constituencies. But in a slight shock, the main opposition Worker's Party picked up 10 seats in the general election.

Eugene Tan, a political analyst from Singapore Management University, told broadcaster CNA that the PAP “will have to do some significant soul-searching. They really need to examine what has contributed to this performance.”

Despite the reduced support, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in power since 2004, has secured one last term as national leader before he is set to retire.

Read more: Opinion: On coronavirus, Singapore shows the way

Opposition makes gains

Although it was an easy win for the PAP, the results also showed surprisingly tight races in several districts.

One of the close races involved a constituency being contested by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, who is seen as the frontrunner to take over for Prime Minister Lee in future.

The Worker's Party added to its share of seats in Singapore's 89-seat parliament, which has now been slightly expanded.

Singapore's 10 opposition parties agreed not to put more than one candidate on the ballot in each constituency in an effort not to split the opposition vote.

Voter has her temperature taken (picture-alliance/AP Photo/R. Chan)

This year's general election saw voters wearing masks and socially distancing in lines at polling stations

Read moreSingapore's anti-fake news law could muzzle free speech

Controversy over COVID-19 election

Held under the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, this year's general election saw voters wearing masks and socially distancing in lines at polling stations.

Prior to the start of ballot counting, opposition parties criticized the decision to extend voting by two hours, with polls closing at 10 p.m. local time (1400 GMT). The change was announced shortly before polls were due to close.

Tan Cheng Bock, the founder of the Progress Singapore Party (PSP), said the move "compromised the integrity of the process" and showed the "rush to hold an election during the pandemic."

Election officials said the measures were necessary to ensure people could vote after COVID-19 protection measures caused delays at polling stations. Voting is compulsory in Singapore.

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rs,kd/msh (dpa, Reuters)

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