LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY GENERAL ELECTION 1955

The first Legislative Assembly election was held under the new Rendel Constitution, the framework of a committee headed by Sir George Rendel that would grant local citizens more autonomy and share executive power with the British colonial authorities. Elected seats by universal suffrage were increased to form a majority in the legislature. The electoral map was entirely revamped and the five names of Bukit Timah, Changi, Katong, Seletar and Tanglin was preserved but carved out from their old boundaries into new smaller wards. There would be seven other seats, bringing the total to 32. The Governor and Colonial Secretary roles were replaced by a Chief Secretary who would, along with the Attorney-General and Financial Secretary, be part of a Council of Ministers headed by an elected legislator who becomes Chief Minister. The CS was also vested with the power to appoint four nominated Assembly Members. The City Council President was excluded from the Assembly and the remaining five "Official" and three elected commerce chamber seats were scrapped. For the first time, political parties could adopt a standard party symbol for all their candidates and independents could select theirs instead of balloting for them. PP, representing the English-speaking bourgeois and DP, the Mandarin-speaking, fielded the most candidates. MU joined the UMNO-MCA alliance after leaving the three-party LF when the other two component parties, Democratic Labour Party and Singapore Socialist Party, decided that LF would converge into one party. LP was a spent force. One of its only two AMs joined LF and the other became independent. A seat was vacated after the death of PP's popular Dr C. J. P. Paglar from a stroke. Anticipating a PP victory and its leader C. C. Tan to emerge as CM, the British were chagrined after the socialist LF garnered the most seats and its chairman, David Marshall, became Singapore's first CM. Short of a majority, LF formed a coalition with the UMNO-MCA-MU alliance. CS William Goode appointed two LF members among the four nominated seats. Led by lawyer and former PP election agent Lee Kuan Yew, PAP made its debut by fielding an insignificant number of candidates due to it opposition to the Rendel Constitution. In the aftermath of the polls, bus union leaders launched strikes all over the island to protest against poor working conditions and underpaid employees under the LF government. This turned violent and cumulated into full-scale riot known as the Hock Lee Bus Riots. Following the outbreak of more riots, PAP AM Lim Chin Siong was detained by the Special Branch on 27 October 1956, along with several union leaders. As his Bukit Timah seat was not vacated, he served the most part of his term under detention.

Council dissolved: 5 February 1955 [Sat]
Nomination day: 28 February 1955 [Mon]
Polling day: 2 April 1955 [Sat]
Assembly opening: 22 April 1955 [Fri]

Electorate: 300,199
Voter turnout: 158,075 (52.7%)

Election deposit: $500

RESULTS
Bukit Panjang Geylang Paya Lebar Sembawang Tanjong Pagar
Bukit Timah Havelock Punggol-Tampines Serangoon Telok Ayer
Cairnhill Kampong Kapor Queenstown Southern Islands Tiong Bahru
Changi Katong Rochore Stamford Ulu Bedok
Farrer Park Pasir Panjang Seletar Tanglin Whampoa
Seats: 25


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