Singapore — On June 23, The Reform Party (RP) released a statement on Facebook that it would be conceding West Coast GRC to the Progress Singapore Party (PSP).
In the post, Kenneth Jeyaretnam (secretary-general of the party) wrote: “I will not reveal precise details of the negotiation with Dr Tan and his assistant here but PSP are contesting far fewer seats than originally anticipated and have offered to withdraw from various grounds they were originally eyeing, in return for Reform Party ceding West Coast (GRC).”
The issue of opposition unity has been a hot topic in the lead-up to the elections, especially over “3-cornered fights” in several GRCs. For the previous elections (2011 and 2015), West Coast GRC was the battleground between the ruling party and RP. However, this negotiation between RP and PSP is reflective of an attempt made to negate these 3-cornered fights, in order for the opposition parties to gain greater seats in Parliament.
Mr Jeyaretnam stated:”We have been in long talks with Dr Tan Cheng Bock and his assistant SG Leong Mun Wai. We believe the greater cause at this moment in time is Opposition unity and contesting where everyone has the greatest chance of winning seats. We also recognise that Dr Tan has a tough fight on his hands despite it being his old stomping ground and we do not wish to hinder his progress. It is vital that there be no 3-corner fights this GE!”
RP has stated that they will now be contesting in three constituencies for the coming election: Ang Mo Kio GRC along with Yio Chu Kang SMC and Radin Mas SMC.
PSP has also announced the constituencies they will be contesting in.
In light of this reveal, opposition unity is seen in how the People’s Power Party (PPP) has also taken a step back in contesting in Radin Mas SMC.
Before RP announced that it would be contesting in Radin Mas, PPP stated that they were interested in two constituencies: Radin Mas and and Macpherson. After the statement released by RP, PPP decided that the party will no longer be competing in Radin Mas in order to prevent a 3-cornered fight in the constituency.
The party stated: “PPP welcomes the decision by our Alliance Partner Reform Party to concede West Coast GRC to PSP led by Dr Tan Cheng Bock in order to avoid a 3 corner fight which will only benefit PAP. In view of this new development and to accommodate Reform Party’s wish to contest in Radin Mas, PPP will be most willing to take a step back for Reform Party to focus on its Founder JBJ’s legacy in former Anson ward.”
This could perhaps spark greater concessions made between opposition parties, to eliminate 3-cornered fights in other GRCs. /TISG