The Elections Department (ELD) announced today that the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) was convened last month, marking the first step towards the next General Election.

The ELD’s latest announcement on the EBRC’s formation has been taken as confirmation that the next GE – which must be held by 15 April 2021 – is imminent. Curiously, this is the first time that the ELD has made a formal announcement about the EBRC’s formation, under Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s rule.

The EBRC has been tasked to reduce the average size of group representation constituencies (GRCs) and increase the number of single-member constituencies (SMCs). It is also in charge of revising the current electoral boundaries, given changes in the electorate due to population shifts and housing developments.

The ELD said that the EBRC is making its deliberations and will present its recommendations to the Prime Minister once it concludes the review.

In the past three General Elections (GEs), the EBRC has taken between two to four months to complete the review. The time between the release of the EBRC’s report and polling day has ranged from as little as 17 days to as long as six months, in Singapore history.

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After the EBRC presents its report to the Prime Minister, he will decide when to dissolve Parliament and issue the writ of election, which will precede Nomination Day by no earlier than five days and no later than one month. The election campaign period, which includes Nomination Day, Cooling-off Day and Polling Day, will take a minimum of nine days.

Last November, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong teased that it is “possible” that the next GE may be called as early as 2019, since it is the same year that the nation celebrates the 200th anniversary of Sir Stamford Raffles’ arrival in Singapore.

When PM Lee was asked directly whether the bicentennial celebrations would be a reason to bring the election forward, he responded: “It’s always possible. There are many reasons to bring elections forward or not, so we’ll see.”

In July, Workers’ Party member Yee Jenn Jong said that his party does not know when the next General Election (GE) will be called since “the ruling party has the sole rights to decide as the elections department reports to the Prime Minister.”

Mr Yee asserted that “the more insecure the ruling party is, the shorter the notice period” opposition party politicians receive to prepare for the GE. He added: “Boundaries can be changed at will and informed just weeks before elections are called… Elections have been called just a couple of days after boundaries were changed.

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