PEH SHING HUEI
NO COMPLAINTS about a rushed election. No real sign of activity. No sweat.
Unlike in the past, the opposition camp reacted coolly to the announcement of key election dates yesterday, reflecting a higher state of readiness than it has ever had, despite entering the polls in larger numbers.
And in a break from the opposition’s tradition of announcing candidates only on Nomination Day, the two biggest parties have said they will do so in the next couple of days.
Workers’ Party (WP) secretary-general Low Thia Khiang told The Straits Times that his party’s slate of candidates, numbering about 20, will be introduced from today.
The Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) said its 20 candidates will be made known at a press conference tomorrow.
The opposition camp is gunning for an expected total of 47 seats, which will deny the People’s Action Party a parliamentary majority on Nomination Day next Thursday. Back in 2001, only 29 seats were contested.
Opposition politicians appear to appreciate the longer lead time they have had to prepare for this GE. In 2001, only a day separated the release of the Electoral Boundaries Report and the announcement of the election. This time, almost 50 days have passed since the boundaries report was made public on March 3.
Mr Low, who will be defending his Hougang seat, described the longer breathing space as “an improvement”.
Mr Steve Chia, who will be contesting under the SDA banner, said the Government has been “a lot fairer” to the opposition this time.
With the exception of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), none of the other opposition parties held meetings last night.
It appears that the wards have been carved out, with no three-cornered fights expected. The exception is the single-seat constituency of Nee Soon Central, now coveted by both the WP and SDP.
The two parties have up till Thursday to iron out their differences if they want to stick to their plan to avoid three-cornered fights.