The PAP government's second handover of power to a third Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, could spell an uphill task for the long-dominant ruling party to maintain its hegemony, if going by GE1991 where his predecessor, now Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, had assumed leadership and PAP lost four seats.
Adding to the challenge were opposition parties in improved shape and carried out preparations earlier, fielding enough candidates to deny PAP a return to power on nomination day, not seen since GE1988, yet with all contests being pure straight fights, something not seen before.
A rejuvenated WP, with secretary-general Low Thia Khiang, its sole Member of Parliament, and first woman chairman Sylvia Lim, released its manifesto ahead of PAP.
The SDA alliance continued its united front amid revealed dissatisfaction with leader and MP Chiam See Tong, including from Chiam's own SPP. NSP Non-Constituency MP Steve Chia also faced a brunt of public mishaps. Again, NSP provided the bulk of close to half the number of candidates for the alliance.
SDP's CEC fell into disarray after a defamation suit by PM Lee and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, which shook the unity of the once-strong party. Its leader Dr Chee Soon Juan was barred from polls after being fined for speaking without a permit in 2002 and made bankrupt for libel in 2006.
The report of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee, dated 16 February 2006 to the PM's Office, was released to the public on 3 March 2006, more than a comfortable month before Nomination Day.
For most of the campaign, PAP focused on James Gomez, a WP candidate in the Aljunied GRC team led by Ms Lim, over an ethnic minority certificate that Gomez alleged the Elections Department misplaced but the ED's CCTVs had filmed him inserting it into his bag.
In the end, the political status quo was kept but PAP saw its margins reduced island-wide. PM Lee's assignment to SM Goh to regain the two non-PAP constituencies did not bear fruit as opposition MPs reversed their fortunes.
Apart from overseas voting for those who had resided in Singapore for two out of the last five years, this GE saw, for the first time, contests in six-member GRCs, no forfeiture of election deposit and a PAP PM's constituency garnering below PAP's national average. Also, this was the second GE in history with no independents, which could be due to new election laws requiring presence of assentors in nomination centres, posing difficulty for candidates without party machinery.
Again, one NCMP seat was alloted and it went to Sylvia Lim, who became WP's third NCMP and the first woman opposition legislator in post-independence Singapore. Chia, after three unsuccessful bids, announced his retirement from politics.
|10th Parliament dissolution:
20 April 2006, Thursday
27 April 2006, Thursday
6 May 2006, Saturday
10 May 2006, Wednesday
|11th Parliament convention:
2 November 2006, Thursday
2,159,721 [OV: 1,017]
936,279 [OV: 459] (43.4%)
1,223,442 [OV: 558] (56.6%)
1,150,003 [OV: 335] (94%)