The majority of Singaporeans feel that the next general election, which must be held by January 2021, will be brought forward to 2019, according to a survey published by Blackbox Research on Tuesday (18 December).
The survey of some 1,000 Singaporeans, which was conducted in November, found that nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) of the respondents find it likely that there will be a general election next year. Furthermore, 75 per cent are supportive of the idea of an early election in 2019.
According to Blackbox Research’s monthly findings since June, by far the most important issue that Singaporeans are concerned about is the cost of living (57 per cent of those surveyed). Jobs and unemployment (21 per cent) is the second-most important issue, followed by housing affordability (14 per cent).
Singapore last held a general election in 2015, when the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) swept to power in winning 83 out of 89 parliamentary seats, as well as 69.9 per cent of the popular vote.
In November, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong floated the possibility that a general election might be called next year, more than a year before his government’s mandate ends, as the Republic braces for growing economic uncertainty amid global trade tensions.
“This may be the last party conference before the next general election,” he had said at the annual PAP convention on 11 November. “The new CEC (Central Executive Committee) will be leading the party into the final stretch, gearing up to put our record before the voters.”
Lee added, “The PAP must win the next general election convincingly. We take a pragmatic and centrist approach in our politics and in our policies. And we’re setting a clear direction supported by the broad mass of Singaporeans who want to see stability and progress continue for many years.”
The next general election is widely expected to be led by Singapore’s 4G leaders, the next generation of cabinet ministers spearheaded by newly-elected PAP first assistant secretary general, Heng Swee Keat. Already, five top brass have stepped down from PAP’s CEC after the party convention, including the two Deputy Prime Ministers Teo Chee Hean and Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
Heng is seen as the prime candidate to succeed Lee within the next couple of years. The 57-year-old Finance Minister, announced last month that the 4G ministers will launch a series of discussions with Singaporeans for feedback on the fundamental issues to be addressed after Budget 2019.