Singapore’s political parties have begun to ramp up their PR efforts amid increasing speculation an election could be called soon after next week’s SG50 celebrations held to mark the 50th anniversary of independence.
The ruling People's Action Party (PAP) will bid for its 14th consecutive term in office since 1959. This will be the PAP's third election with PM Lee Hsien Loong as its Secretary-General, however it will be first contested following the death of his father and the city-state’s first PM Lee Kuan Yew.
Under law, an election doesn’t need to be held until early 2017, but many predict it will be held before the end of the year. Last week a new boundaries report was published - receiving criticism from some opposition supporters - and heightening speculation the government might want to call a snap election to take advantage of the feel-good factor around the independence celebrations.
This has already led the Workers' Party (WP) to declare it will contest a total of 28 seats. It made the announcement ahead of discussions with other opposition parties, due to take place this Friday.
Both the Singaporeans First Part, the National Solidarity Party and the WP have stated they would prefer to avoid three-party fights where possible, in an attempt to bolster the opposition vote.
The PAP, meanwhile, told The Straits Times most of its candidates would be formally named some time after National Day, in order to "give residents as much information and first-hand experience with those who are going to take care of them in the next five years."