The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) on Monday (Jun 8) called for 21 days for the official campaign period instead of the current nine, in a response to the Election Department’s (ELD) release of contingency plans for holding a General Election during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Elections Department (ELD) on Monday (Jun 8) has unveiled new measures to ensure a safe election amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The new measures pertain to polling and nominating procedures. It will issue rules on campaigning at a later date.
The SDP opined that the new measures signal “the PAP’s intent to tilt the GE in its favour as much as it can”.
To remedy what they refer to as “an unfair process”, the SDP calls for the following:
1. Extend the period between the issuing of the Writ of Election and Nomination Day from five to 10 days to allow parties to organise our campaigns and make the necessary logistical preparations including safety equipment for volunteers and polling agents. This is especially important if the ELD only announces the election rules following the issuance of the Writ.
2. Provide 21 days for the official campaign period instead of the current nine. This will enable weighty issues that confront our nation to be properly canvassed and debated on air and in print (see points 3, 4 and 5 below).
3. Give all parties access to the Mediacorp TV channels every night, over and above the traditional political broadcasts.
4. Provide all parties access to radio programmes every day.
5. Reserve column space in newspapers for parties to publish our manifestos as well as discuss our ideas/proposals.
6. Allow parties to address residents at food centres, void decks and common areas subject, of course, to safety social distancing rules.
The SDP said in its statement that the uncertainty over the rules for campaigning is a “clear demonstration that the COVID-19 spread is still very much not under control”.
ELD added on Monday that measures to ensure voters have access to the campaigning messages of political parties and candidates will be put in place should large group activities be restricted. This may include additional TV broadcast time for candidates and political parties. /TISG