SINGAPORE — On Saturday (March 14), a day after the announcement of changes to the country’s electoral boundaries, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong discussed in a Facebook post the timing of the General Election, which must be held by April 21 next year.
Noting that elections can only be called after the electoral registers are updated, which will “take about a month”, he said that when they are held will depend on the situation, and the outlook.
Mr Lee said: “We have two choices. Either hope and pray that things will stabilise before the end of the term so that we can hold elections under more normal circumstances – but we have no certainty of that.
“Or else call elections early, knowing that we are going into a hurricane, to elect a new government with a fresh mandate and a full term ahead of it, which can work with Singaporeans on the critical tasks at hand.”
The Prime Minister gave the assurance that, “if we have to hold elections before Covid-19 is over, we will take all the precautions necessary, so that parties can campaign effectively, and people can vote safely”.
He said: “At stake are jobs, businesses and lives.”
Mr Lee added: “Which way to go, and the elections date, will depend on what will best see Singapore through this major crisis.”
Meanwhile, most of the opposition parties in Singapore have spoken out against the holding of elections at this time.
Singapore Democratic Party chief Chee Soon Juan said on Saturday (March 14) that “it would be socially irresponsible” to proceed with the GE given that outbreak has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation.
Progress Singapore Party chief Tan Cheng Bock, in a three-minute video on Facebook also on Saturday, warned of the danger of mass exposure to the virus during large group election activities.
Mr Lee’s Facebook post came a day after the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee released its report. It recommended the adoption of 31 electoral divisions, up from 29, with a total of 93 seats in Parliament, four more than the 89 currently.
As of March 14, Singapore had 107 active cases of Covid-19 with 14 in critical condition, while a total of 105 people had been discharged.