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Singapore released a crucial electoral boundaries report Friday, setting the stage for an imminent announcement on the country’s next election -- one that’s largely considered to be Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s final run at office.
The release of the report is the clearest indication that the next general election is just months away. Its recommendations include an adoption of 31 electoral divisions, up from 29, as well as a total of 93 seats in Parliament, four more than the 89 in the House currently, according to the city-state’s Elections Department.
The government has accepted the committee’s recommendations and will implement them in the next election, the report said.
In the last general election in 2015, the committee released its report in July and polls were held in September.
People’s Action Party
After the report is published, it typically takes a few days or weeks for parliament to be dissolved and the writ of election to be issued. This will be done by the president on the advice of the prime minister. The next stage will be the so-called Nomination Day or the start of the campaign period, which will be over nine days as required by law.
Co-founded by his father and founding premier Lee Kuan Yew, the People’s Action Party (PAP) has been in power since Singapore’s independence in 1965. Still popular among Singaporeans, PAP took the vast majority of seats in parliament during the last elections in 2015, while a fractured and largely disorganized opposition means it is unlikely the ruling party would lose its majority.
Lee, 68, has been actively grooming what he calls the “fourth generation” of PAP politicians. He has signaled he would hand over the premiership by 2022, when he turns 70. Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat has been tipped to be the next Prime Minister.
The social-liberal Singapore Democratic Party said that holding an election during the outbreak would threaten the safety of residents in the city-state. “We hope that the PAP will not capitalise on the crisis by holding the GE at this time as it will take away valuable resources needed to combat the virus outbreak and jeopardise the public’s health and well-being,” the party said in a statement.
(Updates with attribution to electoral report throughout)
--With assistance from Siraj Datoo.
To contact the reporters on this story: Philip J. Heijmans in Singapore at email@example.com;Faris Mokhtar in Singapore at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Ruth Pollard at email@example.com, Joyce Koh
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