No formation of Electoral Boundaries Review Committee yet: Chan Chun Sing

FILE PHOTO: Yahoo News Singapore

SINGAPORE — The formation of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee, one of the clearest indications that a general election is imminent, has not occurred yet.

Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Trade and Industry, gave the update on Monday (8 July) in a written response to a parliamentary question by Workers’ Party chief Pritam Singh.

Singh had asked Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong if the committee has been formed, or when it will be set up.

Answering on behalf of PM Lee, Chan wrote, “The Prime Minister has not yet appointed the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee.”

Deciding on ward demarcation

The committee is usually formed to look at demographic changes, in order to decide how electoral wards should be demarcated. It has typically taken between two and seven months to release its report, and is generally seen as a sign that a general election is around the corner.

As of the previous general election in 2015, there are 16 Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs) and 13 Single Member Constituencies (SMCs) in Singapore.

For example, in the 2006 and 2011 general elections, the committee took four months to complete its work and submit its reports. In the 2015 election, PM Lee announced the committee’s formation in July, two months after the committee had been appointed, and the election was called on 25 August.

Next steps after committee report

Once the committee has submitted its report, the next steps leading to Polling Day are for the Parliament to be dissolved and the writ of election to be issued.

From then, the Nomination Day must happen between five days to a month after the writ is issued, and it will mark the start of the campaign period for a minimum of nine days. There will then be a Cooling-Off Day before voters can cast their ballots.

This is the second time that Singh – a Member of Parliament of Aljunied GRC – had raised the question of when the committee would be formed.

He had earlier posed the question on 28 February, and said then: “It would be a waste of Parliament’s time, and bordering on an abuse of process, if an MP had to file the same parliamentary question to the Prime Minister when rumours of an imminent election are in the air.”

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