SINGAPORE: In a Facebook post on Monday (July 10), KF Seetoh asked why a by-election has not been called at Jurong GRC now that Tharman Shanmugaratnam has stepped down.
On June 8, the Senior Minister announced that he would resign from all his political roles to contest the upcoming Presidential Election, which must be held by September 13.
In a letter to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announcing his intent to mount a presidential bid, he wrote, “I plan to do so a month from now, on Jul 7, 2023, so that I can first fulfill my immediate official commitments in Singapore and internationally, and ensure that arrangements are fully in place for constituents of Jurong GRC to be well-served for the rest of the electoral term.”
Mr. Tharman attended his final sitting day in Parliament last Thursday (July 6).
And on Monday morning, the food guru and Makansutra owner asked, “So, why no by-election now that Tharman has left his Jurong GRC? The public who voted because of him must be given a chance to vote again, for this hardworking rest of the team. Give the voters a chance to give this residue team an even stronger mandate so they can govern with even more confidence and authority.
You should give the Jurong voters this opportunity.”
Mr Tharman had been the anchor minister at Jurong GRC, where he served as MP for 22 years.
The opposition party Red Dot United (RDU), called for a by-election at Jurong on the day Mr Tharman announced. In a press statement, RDU recognized him as a deserving candidate for the presidency but noted concerns over his resignation as Jurong GRC’s designated minority MP.
Nevertheless, it does not mean that a by-election needs to be held.
“The Constitution, read with the Parliamentary Elections Act, is clear that no by-election is required in a GRC unless all the seats have been vacated,” Associate Professor of Law at the Singapore Management University Eugene Tan was quoted as saying in TODAY on June 10.
He added, “The mere resignation of a GRC MP does not trigger a by-election even if the resignation is of an MP who is from the designated minority race for the GRC.” /TISG