A week after the Opposition first met to lay claim and discuss the constituencies they would contest at the upcoming General Election, it appears the parties have managed to strike a compromise to avoid multi-corner fights in all but one of the 29 electoral divisions.
Following announcements on Monday (Aug 10) by Singaporeans First and the National Solidarity Party, it appears that only the single seat of Potong Pasir – the smallest constituency on the political landscape – may see a three-cornered contest – and only because of an independent candidate, who has said he would throw his hat into the ring.
On Monday, NSP said it would no longer field candidates to contest Marine Parade GRC and MacPherson SMC – two constituencies that the Workers’ Party had staked claim to earlier. In a surprising turn of events, the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) said it would allow the NSP to run in Sembawang GRC, even though the SDP had contested the constituency in the 2011 General Election.
Not long after, SingFirst announced that it would step aside in Ang Mo Kio GRC to allow the Reform Party to go head-to-head with the People’s Action Party team led by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
These were the last points of contention between the established Opposition parties following their two meetings on Aug 3 and 6.
The parties had also agreed to avoid multi-corner fights at the 13 single seats. However, former NSP Secretary-General Tan Lam Siong has said he may contest Potong Pasir as an independent candidate.
Current Singapore People’s Party Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Lina Chiam has indicated she will contest the ward, which was helmed by her husband Chiam See Tong for 27 years. Mrs Chiam lost the 2011 ballot by just 114 votes.
WHO’S RUNNING WHERE?
There is no surprise that the Workers’ Party – which currently has 7 elected members in Parliament, as well as two NCMPs – is the Opposition party set to contest the most seats: 28. This is 5 more than the 23 candidates it fielded in 2011.
Three other parties - SDP, NSP and RP - look set to field 11 candidates each.
The SDP is eyeing Holland-Bukit Timah and Marsiling-Yew Tee GRCs, as well as three SMCs: Bukit Batok, Bukit Panjang and Yuhua. The NSP said it will contest Tampines and Sembawang GRCs as well as Pioneer SMC. Meanwhile, RP will look to field teams in Ang Mo Kio and West Coast GRCs as well as a candidate in Radin Mas SMC.
SingFirst has indicated it will field 10 candidates in two five-member GRCs - Jurong and Tanjong Pagar.
The SPP, headed by Mr Chiam See Tong, and the Democratic Progressive Party – headed by Mr Benjamin Pwee, who ran under the SPP banner in 2011 – will collectively challenge for eight seats. SPP will field candidates in Potong Pasir, Mountbatten and Hong Kah North, while a joint team will be fielded for the 5-member Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC. It is not yet known under which party banner the GRC team will be fielded.
Helmed by Secretary-General Desmond Lim, the Singapore Democratic Alliance will again field a six-man slate in Pasir Ris-Punggol, where it took 35.21 per cent of the vote in 2011. The People’s Power Party – started by Mr Goh Meng Seng, another former NSP Secretary-General – will field the smallest team of all the Opposition parties, contesting in the 4-member Chua Chu Kang GRC.