Singapore's Ruling PAP Leads in Initial Counting of Votes

Workers’ Party supporters celebrate the results of the general election in Singapore on Saturday

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's ruling People's Action Party (PAP) has returned to power, winning 83 of the 93 seats contested in Friday's General Election, even as the Opposition registered minor gains. "They haven't", he said. "More voters had turned up this morning than expected outside their assigned voting time-bands", it said.

CNN's Akanksha Sharma and Isaac Yee contributed to reporting. However, gloves are still available for voters who would like to use them in addition to hand sanitiser, the report said. "Singaporeans understand what is at stake and why we must unite for the sake of Singapore".

Lee's People's Action Party has been criticized for holding polls amid the pandemic, just weeks after Singapore emerged from two months of virus lockdown and daily virus cases still topping 100. Voters in Friday's election had also expressed concern about their job prospects and whether their wealthy, small island needs so many foreigners in top paid roles.

In a bid to enhance the safety of voting amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of polling stations was increased from 880 to 1,100. "Family members voting at the same polling station may accompany the senior voter to voter". Prime Minister Lee last month called for general elections 10 months ahead of the schedule to "clear the decks" and give the new government a fresh five-year mandate to focus on the national agenda.

"That'll have to be reflected in our political process and in the government's policies, because in the end, the government's policies must be to achieve the aspirations of every generation of Singaporeans", Lee said, assuring Singaporeans.

If PSP declines both NCMP seats or takes up only one seat, then these will be offered to WP's East Coast GRC team, which had the second highest losing vote share of 46.59 per cent. The ruling party is expected to win comfortably in the election but the 68-year-old Lee's handling of the coronavirus crisis could decide the vote share this election.

Some 2.65 million Singaporeans donning face masks and gloves voted in the elections for selecting 93 members of Parliament out of 192 candidates contesting for seats through 17 GRCs which groups together candidates in four or five, and 14 Single Member Constituencies. While the PAP has not fielded any Indian-origin candidate in this election, the opposition parties have fielded about a dozen of them.

It marked a decline in the PAP's performance from 2015 polls when it took 93 per cent of seats and almost 70 per cent of the total vote. He said Workers' Party chief Pritam Singh will officially be named opposition leader, an unprecedented move in the city-state. The Workers' Party, the only opposition with a presence in Parliament, increased its seats from six to 10 - the biggest victory for the opposition since the nation's independence.

But the opposition received a boost after they were joined by Premier Lee's estranged brother, Lee Hsien Yang. However, he is not fighting the elections.

The PAP, in power since 1965, won 83 of 93 parliamentary seats or 61.2% of the vote - down from almost 70% it had in the 2015 poll.

"The alternative is to wait out the Covid-19 pandemic, but we have no assurance that the pandemic will be over before this government's term must end next April, and that is why I have chose to hold the general elections now", Lee said at the time.

The sibling is locked in a long-running feud with the prime minister over the legacy of their father, Singapore's late founding leader Lee Kuan Yew, and has become a member of the Progress Singapore Party, although he did not run for office himself.

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