“The residents come first.” This has become the mantra for a renewed PAP’s 2015 campaign and it has been receiving positive responses from the public. The PAP has been working hard to shed the image of being out of touch and complacent with the ground as these are the factors that played a part in a vote swing against the ruling party in the 2011 elections. But are they still out of touch? The PAP this time has been making abundant changes to its campaigning strategies.
One difference was that new candidates were made clear as to which constituency they would be standing for. Previously, there was no confirmation until Nomination Day. This change was seen after taking resident’s feedback into consideration as they wanted to know earlier who would be seeking their votes. New candidates were introduced in heartland settings such as coffeehouses. Most of the candidates have been volunteering for months or even years before their political debut.
Another difference was that the ballot box would have candidates’ pictures appear in hopes of reaping dividends. The party is pleased with the face recognition of the candidates among the residents. They have themselves to thank for this as the residents recognized them for the events they have organized and the help they have extended. The public is taking this decision positively as they feel that the elections this time round are dealing with every nitty-gritty detail of election campaigning and the ballot design.
This year’s campaign is said to have “very few surprises”. But, it is keeping its cards close to its chest in one area. Candidates for four GRCs and two SMCs have yet to be revealed by the ruling party. These constituencies are in which the Workers’ Party is contesting in. Previously, new PAP candidates were all introduced by the time the Parliament was dissolved. It is said this move was made to make sure that they are sure of who the candidates for the Workers’ Party are in these areas though some candidates from PAP like Victor Lye have already been confirmed.
This time, the ruling party has also invited socio-political websites for press conferences and granted exclusive interviews with new candidates. Party leaders have also been using social media to post their thoughts. This was done to tackle the issue of antagonism faced in the 2011 general elections.
The PAP of 2015 has made numerous changes this time round. Be it a strong opposition presence or a thriving new media sphere, every aspect is dealt with to ensure the best results at the end of the elections. Even the logistics for the elections were planned and finalized months ago.
The party also has repeatedly emphasized the message of this general election which is “coming in the year of Singapore’s Golden Jubilee, is about securing the next 50 years by entrenching the fourth-generation of leadership.”
Though they have made some changes, some political observers feel that they have left it till the last minute and they are not only out of touch but also out of time.
Picture courtesy: www.straitstimes.com