Friday, April 21, 2006

Singapore GE 2006: MAY 6

The date for showdown is now set.

Cudgels are raised and the knives are out.

Ok, maybe I am a tad exaggerating here. But then again judging from the previous General Elections, one can never be too sure. There are plenty of signs that this coming election will be exciting. In fact people are already started speculating about who will be sued until bankrupt after the elections.

So sit tight and watch the fireworks fly!

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Time is GMT + 8 hours
Posted: 20 April 2006 1601 hrs

Singapore calls general election for May 6.

SINGAPORE : Singaporeans will go to the polls on Saturday, May 6, which will now also be a public holiday.

Nomination Day is on Thursday, April 27.

Earlier on Thursday, President S R Nathan, on the advice of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, dissolved Parliament, paving the way for the polls.

A government statement has listed nine nomination centres.

They are Admiralty Secondary School, Bedok View Secondary School, Bendemeer Primary School, Bukit Panjang Government High School, Fajar Secondary School, Jurong Junior College, Ngee Ann Secondary School, Pei Chun Public School and Tao Nan School.

Candidates will have to turn up with the necessary election documents between 11am and noon on Nomination Day.

The Chief Executive Director of the People's Association, Tan Boon Huat, has once again been appointed the Returning Officer.

The election deposit is S$13,500 per candidate.

This is 8 percent of the total allowances payable to an MP in the preceding year, rounded to the nearest S$500.

The Returning Officer has issued further details on the conduct of the General Election.

Candidates can obtain the nomination forms from the Election Department between 10am and 4pm on weekdays and from 9am to 1pm on Saturday.

He has also approved 12 symbols which candidates can use for their identity.

This General Election will be Singapore's 10th.

Some 2.16 million people are eligible to vote to choose the 84 members of the 11th Parliament of Singapore.

The election will have nine single-member wards and 14 Group Representation Constituencies, or GRCs.

Under the GRCs, a unique feature of Singapore's election system, voters elect a team of five or six members, at least one of whom must be Malay, Indian, or a minority.

The scheme, introduced in 1988, is intended to ensure a Parliament that reflects Singapore's multiracial society.

This election is Mr Lee's first since taking over as Prime Minister from Goh Chok Tong in August 2004.

It is also his first as Secretary-General of the governing People's Action Party.

The opposition parties have said they will contest up to 57 seats in the new Parliament.

This means there could be contests in all nine single-member wards and nine of the 14 GRCs.

If this scenario pans out, then the PAP will not be returned to power on Nomination Day for the first time since the 1991 General Election.

The PAP unveiled its manifesto on 15 April with the slogan, "Staying Together, Moving Ahead".

The party is asking voters to give its team a strong mandate to take Singapore forward and meet its future challenges.

At the same time, it wants to provide a better life for all, and foster a stable and harmonious multiracial society which is open and inclusive.

Prime Minister Lee has said the PAP is going all out to fight for every vote.

"The moment is right. We have a team, we the vision, we have the programme," Mr Lee said on April 15 while unveiling his party's manifesto.

He has also appointed Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong to help the PAP win back the single-member seats of Potong Pasir and Hougang, now held by the opposition.

The Singapore Democratic Alliance, made up of four opposition parties, is aiming to win at least 15 seats from four single-member wards and two GRCs.

It is also taking a two-pronged approach, campaigning on issues at the national and constituency level.

"The key point is that we want to tell the public the danger of having one-party rule in Singapore," SDA Chairman Chiam See Tong said on April 9.

Another opposition group, the Workers' Party, unveiled its manifesto, "You Have a Choice", in January.

"We seek to look at the issues seriously, to explore possibilities. We explore policy options," Workers' Party Secretary-General Low Thia Khiang said on January 14.

It proposed that Singapore's ethnic integration policies, grassroots organisations and the elected presidency be scrapped; and that more subsidies be given out, even if this causes Budget deficits.

The four proposals immediately came under fire by the PAP, which labelled them as "time bombs" that would tear Singapore society apart.

Meantime, the Singapore Democratic Party has indicated it is contesting Sembawang GRC in the north of Singapore.

It is planning to make the National Kidney Foundation scandal, uncovered last year, an election issue.

The SDP will be fighting the incumbent PAP team led by Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan. - CNA/ch/ct

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