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SINGAPORE GENERAL ELECTION

PAP wins bigger than expected with the silent majority's backing

PM Lee calls outcome 'good results for PAP and excellent results for Singaporeans'
Saturday, September 12, 2015 - 08:00
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VICTORY: PM Lee (with his Ang Mo Kio GRC team) said the general election results signal a "fresh and clear mandate for the PAP to take the country forward".

Singapore

THE ruling People's Action Party (PAP) not only won big but won bigger than expected in the 2015 General Election (GE) which ended on Friday.

The PAP scored 69.86 per cent of the total valid votes when many, while expecting the party to return to form the government, had expected its popular vote to drop below the 60.14 per cent collected in the 2011 GE.

Party boss Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, describing the results as exceeding the party's expectations, said they were "good results for (the) PAP and excellent results for Singaporeans".

The results signal a "fresh and clear mandate for the PAP to take the country forward", he said at a post-election press conference at 4am on Saturday morning.

Of the 89 seats up for grabs, the ruling party captured 83, against the Workers' Party's (WP) six. These include 15 of the 16 GRCs (group representation constituencies) and 12 of the 13 SMCs (single-member constituencies) contested.

The PAP regained Punggol East, which it lost to the WP in a 2012 by-election. And it strengthened its hold on Potong Pasir, which it won back from the Singapore People's Party (SPP) in 2011.

In Punggol East, PAP candidate Charles Chong beat the WP's incumbent Lee Li Lian, but narrowly with 51.76 per cent of the votes.

The PAP's Sitoh Yih Pin widened his winning margin over the SPP's Lina Chiam from under one percentage point in 2011 to nearly 32 percentage points with a 66.41 per cent win.

In hot seats Holland-Bukit Timah, East Coast and Marine Parade GRCs and Fengshan SMC, the ruling party also won convincingly by larger margins.

PAP candidates Vivian Balakrishnan, Sim Ann, Christopher de Souza and Liang Eng Hwa overcame the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) team led by Chee Soon Juan in Holland-Bukit Timah, garnering 66.62 per cent of the vote - up from 60.08 per cent in 2011.

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong and his winning team, which included Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin, also raised their winning votes in Marine Parade GRC from 56.64 per cent to 64.07 per cent.

In East Coast GRC, now minus Fengshan, the PAP team increased its vote from 54.83 per cent in 2011 to 60.73 per cent.

And in the new Fengshan single ward, the PAP's Cheryl Chan - who stood for election for the first time but has been doing grassroots work in the ward for a decade - beat the WP's new face Dennis Tan with 57.52 per cent of the vote.

While the PAP failed to dislodge the WP from Hougang, it managed to trim the WP's vote from 64.80 per cent in the 2011 election to 57.69 per cent.

It also narrowed the winning percentage of the WP team, led by party chief Low Thia Khiang, in Aljunied GRC from 54.72 per cent to 51 per cent.

PM Lee and his two deputies, Teo Chee Hean and Tharman Shanmugaratnam, also scored big with their teams in Ang Mo Kio, Pasir Ris-Punggol and Jurong GRCs respectively.

The late Lee Kuan Yew's stronghold Tanjong Pagar GRC, where the PAP was challenged for the first time since 1991, did just as well under a team helmed for the first time by NTUC chief Chan Chun Sing.

Thanking voters, Mr Lee described the 78.63 per cent vote share given to him in Ang Mo Kio as a "very good result" and "very strong support".

Along with DPM Tharman's team in Jurong (79.28 per cent), the PAP team in West Coast (78.57 per cent) and Mr Chan's team in Tanjong Pagar (77.71 per cent), the PM's team attained among the best results in the GE.

The big swing in votes to the PAP reflected also the WP's poor handling of the finances of its town council in Aljunied, according to observers.

But most of all, it was a resounding vote for the ruling party's track record and clean rule - and the confidence in its leadership to shape Singapore's future for at least the next five years, if not longer.

The silent majority has spoken - and given its backing to the PAP, the observers said.

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