SINGAPORE — The People’s Action Party (PAP) secretary-general Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday (11 July) said the party had a clear mandate to govern Singapore.
“I will use this mandate responsibly to deal with COVID-19 and the economic downturn, and to take us safely through the crisis and beyond,” he said at a press conference after the tallying of the General Election (GE) results.
“At the same time, the results reflect the pain and uncertainty that Singaporeans feel in this crisis, the loss of income, the anxiety about jobs, the disruption caused by the circuit breaker and the safe distancing restrictions. This was not a feel good election, but one where people are facing real problems and expect more rough weather to come,” Lee said.
The PAP won 61.24 per cent of votes, and 83 out of 93 seats. Its vote share was a drop from 69.9 per cent in GE2015.
Meanwhile, the Workers’ Party (WP) won in Hougang SMC, Aljunied GRC as well as the newly formed Sengkang GRC. It was the opposition party’s best electoral performance ever.
Clear desire for diversity of voices
At the press conference, Lee also said the electoral results show “a clear desire for a diversity of voices in Parliament”.
“Singaporeans want the PAP to form the government, but they and especially the younger voters also want to see more opposition presence in Parliament,” he said.
Noting that the next Parliament will have 10 elected opposition MPs and two non-constituency MPs, if the candidates take up the seats, Lee said he looked forward “to them participating in and contributing to the debate in Parliament, and to the national debate as we deal with the urgent issues before us.”
In line with the number of seats the WP has in the House, WP chief Pritam Singh will be formally designated as the leader of the opposition and be provided with “appropriate staff support and resources to perform these duties”, Lee added.
Disappointed in loss of Sengkang GRC
Lee also expressed disappointment in losing the new four-member Sengkang GRC to the opposition, saying it was “a major loss to my team and to the 4G leaders”. Among the losing PAP candidates was secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) Ng Chee Meng.
“The PAP will strive to win back Sengkang GRC. We will also continue to fight to win back Aljunied GRC and Hougang SMC,” Lee said.
With the elections over, Lee urged Singaporeans to put aside differences and unite to get through the pandemic.
“The challenges ahead call for not only a whole of government response, but a whole of the nation response” he said.
Singapore will emerge stronger
Lee also spoke on leadership transition, saying that it is an important issue for the PAP in every election. He noted that 24 new PAP MPs have been elected this time.
“I've also been preparing the 4G team to take over the reins for many years. What I did not expect us to meet this overwhelming crisis in the last stretch of my premiership,” he said.
He added that he will see the country through the pandemic, working with both senior Cabinet ministers as well as the younger 4G ministers.
“I will see this crisis through. I’m determined to hand over Singapore intact and in good working order to the next team,” he said.
“The work of the new government begins at once. My government will work with all of you to overcome the present health and economic crisis, and emerge stronger. With this election now behind us let us work as one Singapore to secure our lives, our jobs, and our future,” he added.
A total of 192 candidates – from 11 parties and one independent candidate – contested 93 seats across 17 group representation constituencies and 14 single-member constituencies.
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