PARLIAMENTARY GENERAL ELECTION 1997
Although having done well in the 1992 by-election, this was yet another opportunity for Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong to secure a stronger mandate after PAP's considerably poor showing in 1991. It was also the first election where the nomination and polling days were within different calendar years. The report of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee was sent to PM's Office on 6 November 1996 and published on 21 November 1996. Two seats in PAP-held Eunos and Toa Payoh GRCs were vacated after the death of Dr Tay Eng Soon and inauguration of former Deputy PM Ong Teng Cheong as Singapore's fifth and first elected President respectively. The main opposition SDP was facing serious internal strife. Former leader Chiam See Tong sued and won against his party's central executive committee for defamation, including its new leader Dr Chee Soon Juan and both other MPs. Prior to nomination day, Chiam resigned from SDP and crossed over to its splinter party, SPP. Two opposition candidates, Dr Chee and WP's Tang Liang Hong, came under heavy fire from PAP. Tang, who was standing on the WP ticket with secretary-general J. B. Jeyaretnam, was accused by PAP of being an anti-Christian Chinese chavunist. GRCs were increased to between four and six seats each. A NSP team was disqualified from Tampines GRC after one candidate was found to have his name struck off the electoral rolls for not voting in 1991. For the first time, a Nominated MP - listed company director Chia Shi Teck - ran in an election. With the "HDB upgrading" carrot dangled as a pricy stake for voters, PAP reversed its electoral decline for the first time in four GEs and since 1963 won back an opposition ward, recapturing the two SDP seats out of the four it had lost the last round. With Chiam's defection, SDP had no representation in Parliament since 1984. Low Thia Khiang, now WP assistant secretary-general, and Jeyaretnam, returned to the legislature, the latter as a Non-Constituency MP whose last presence was in 1986. Tang fled Singapore after several lawsuits were filed against him by PM Goh, Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew, DPMs Lee Hsien Loong, Dr Tony Tan and several PAP MPs. In June 1997, when NMPs were re-appointed, the number was increased from six to nine.
8th Parliament dissolution: 16 December 1996 [Mon]
Eligible voters: 1,881,011
Election deposit: $8,000 (+$2,000)