SINGAPORE: In its latest update, Singapore’s Elections Department (ELD) confirmed to Lianhe Zaobao on Tuesday (28 May) that the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) has not yet been convened, intensifying speculation as to when the next election will be held.

With rumors swirling that newly appointed Prime Minister Lawrence Wong might opt for a snap election in September this year—more than a year ahead of the legal deadline of November 2025—analysts are divided over the plausibility of such an occurrence, given the absence of EBRC activity.

The EBRC plays a crucial role in delineating constituencies for future general elections based on population shifts and housing developments. The release of its report typically serves as a significant indicator of an impending general election.

Speculation has mounted on social media platforms, suggesting that Parliament could be dissolved on August 20th this year, followed by nomination day on August 27th, and voting day on September 6th—a Friday and coinciding with a school holiday. If these rumors hold true, Singapore could see its election within a mere three-month timeframe.

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Looking back at the past four general elections, the shortest duration from EBRC establishment to report release was approximately two months, followed by one to four months until polling day.

The 2015 election stands out as the swiftest, with the committee established in May, report released in July, and election held in September—an expedited timeline that raised eyebrows, given the passing of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and the SG50 celebrations that year.

Conversely, the subsequent election witnessed a more prolonged process, spanning almost a year from EBRC establishment in August 2019 to polls in July 2020.

Drawing from historical precedents, if the committee were to convene in June, the general election might not occur until mid-September at the earliest. However, analysts suggest that the committee may expedite its review process.

Should the committee convene in June and release its report in July, the government could potentially call for a snap election in September—strategically timed after PM Wong’s inaugural National Day Rally, a pivotal platform for policy announcements and nationwide communication.

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While some analysts predict that Mr Wong could use this opportunity to kickstart election campaigning, others have opined that the premier should not be in a hurry to seek a mandate.

These observers are advocating that the PM should instead take time to flesh out his vision for Singapore and drive it forward through important platforms such as the National Day Rally, the People’s Action Party Conference at the end of the year, the Budget Statement in early 2025 and the May Day rally a year from now.

Some political pundits told Lianhe Zaobao that the polls may be deferred until after the 2025 Budget, particularly as the nation celebrates its 60th year of independence.

However, delaying the election could present unforeseen challenges, especially in today’s volatile geopolitical climate, prompting arguments that it would be more advantageous to hold an election as soon as possible amidst relative calm.