Date
30 March 2017
Low Thia Khiang (center, left), chief of the opposition Worker's Party, chairman Sylvia Lim (center, right) and other candidates read their campaign pledge at a rally in Singapore on Wednesday. Photo: AFP
Low Thia Khiang (center, left), chief of the opposition Worker's Party, chairman Sylvia Lim (center, right) and other candidates read their campaign pledge at a rally in Singapore on Wednesday. Photo: AFP

Singapore vote marks key test for ruling party

Singaporeans head for the polls on Friday, and the ruling party that has ruled the former British colony for 50 years is expected to remain in power.

But although the People’s Action Party, led by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, is likely to sweep the parliamentary election once more, analysts say its hold on power is softening, the Wall Street Journal reported.

With economic growth slowing and opposition parties gaining clout, Friday’s vote is likely to be the most hotly contested, the newspaper said.

“We need an opposing voice,” Andrew Yeo, managing director of an advertising agency, told the newspaper.

“The opposition in Singapore has actually matured … These are voices that have helped shape and make Singapore slightly better over the last four years.”

Nine parties are competing, compared with seven in 2011. For the first time, the opposition will contest all the 89 seats in parliament.

Many Singaporeans say they are still discontented over issues such as public transportation and open immigration policies.

The same issues hurt the ruling party during the 2011 election, when it won just 60.1 percent of the popular vote, a record low, even if it won all but seven legislative seats.

Friday’s election, in which voting is mandatory, will reveal whether Singaporean voters have continued their drift toward the opposition, the report said.

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