2020 Singaporean general election
All 93 elected seats (+ up to 12 NCMP seats)
to the Parliament of Singapore
47 elected seats needed for a majority
The 2020 Singaporean general election is scheduled for Friday, 10 July 2020. It will elect Members of Parliament to the 14th Parliament of Singapore since Singapore's independence in 1965, using the first-past-the-post electoral system. Voting is mandatory for all Singaporeans aged 21 or above as of 1 March 2020.
This election will be the 18th general election in Singapore and the 13th since independence. The ruling People's Action Party will attempt to secure their 15th consecutive term in government since 1959.
Background[edit source | edit]
According to Article 65(4) of the Constitution, the maximum term of any given Parliament is five years from the date of its first sitting following a general election, after which it is dissolved by operation of law. However, the Prime Minister may advise the President to dissolve Parliament at any time during the five-year period. A general election must be held within three months after every dissolution of Parliament. Elections are conducted by the Elections Department (ELD), which is under the Prime Minister's Office.
There are 93 elected seats in Parliament organised into 14 Single Member Constituencies (SMCs) and 17 Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs). Each SMC returns one Member of Parliament using the first past the post voting system, while each GRC returns 4 or 5 MPs by block voting, at least one of whom must be from the Malay, Indian or other minority communities. A group of persons wishing to stand for election in a GRC must all be members of the same political party, or a group of independent candidates. The voting age in Singapore is 21 years.
On 23 June 2020 at 4pm, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced during a live televised announcement that President Halimah Yacob had dissolved the 13th Parliament of Singapore on the same day and had issued a writ of election with nominations to be held a week later on 30 June 2020.
The Returning Officer is Tan Meng Dui, a former Deputy Secretary at the Ministry of National Development and current CEO of the National Environment Agency. This is his first election as Returning Officer, taking over from Ng Wai Choong who had served in this role in the previous general election.
Political parties[edit source | edit]
The governing People's Action Party (PAP) has been in power since 1959 and is currently led by the Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. The leading Opposition party is The Worker's Party, led by Pritam Singh, with 6 elected seats and 3 NCMP seats. A total of eleven Opposition parties has announced that they will challenged the ruling party in this election.
|Party||Abbreviation||Leader||Year formed||Seats before GE2020||Parliamentary presence|
|Template:SG/PAP||PAP||Lee Hsien Loong||
City Council Elections:
6 + 3 NCMPs
City Council Elections:
|Template:SG/DPP||DPP||Mohamad Hamim bin Aliyas||
|Template:SG/SDP||SDP||Chee Soon Juan||
|Template:SG/SDA||SDA||Desmond Lim Bak Chuan||
|Template:SG/PPP||PPP||Goh Meng Seng||
|Progress Singapore Party||PSP||Tan Cheng Bock||
|Red Dot United||RDU||Ravi Philemon||
Changes in election process[edit source | edit]
The Elections Department introduced several new features for this election to help ease the election process for voters, candidates and election volunteers. Voters will be able to mark their candidate(s) choices more clearly using self-inking pens and enjoy shorter queuing time with the introduction of the e-registration system. Candidates are able to fill in most of the necessary documents online while election volunteers are able to count the number of votes within a shorter duration with the help of counting machines, enabling election results to be released at least 50 minutes earlier. In addition, there will be more polling stations, reducing the average number of voters per polling station from 3,000 to about 2,400. Senior citizens above the age of 65 will be given priority to vote between 8am and 12pm on Polling Day.
On 27 January 2016, a bill is passed for the Constitution, increasing the total number of members by three to 12 members. This is the first increase for the number of members allocated since the 2011 Singaporean general election, where it was increased from three members to nine. As in the case for previous elections, NCMPs are offered for best-performing non-elected candidates (outside ruling party), with the number determined by the total number of opposition candidates elected; if there are at least 12 oppositions-elect, then NCMPs will not be offered, as it was seen in the 1991 election. The names of the eligible candidates are announced a few days after the polling day. Candidates may decline the post if offered, as were seen previously in the 1984 and 2015 elections.
Electoral divisions[edit source | edit]
|Group representation constituencies||
|Single member constituencies||
|Voters (overseas votes inclusive)||
The Electoral Boundaries Review Committee is made up of senior civil servants and charged with adjusting the boundaries of electoral divisions prior to an election. The government officially claims this as necessary to ensure minority participation in Parliament amidst demographic changes while ensuring an equitable amount of voters represented per MP, though critics have raised allegations of gerrymandering to disadvantage the opposition. As of 2015, there were 16 GRCs and 13 SMCs. Prime Minister Lee convened the committee on 1 August 2019 with instructions to reduce the size of GRCs and increase the amount of SMCs. The exact date of formation was revealed only when Opposition Leader Pritam Singh asked Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing in a written reply in Parliament.
The Committee released its report on 13 March 2020 with the formation of 17 GRCs and 14 SMCs. For the first time since 1991, six-member GRCs were eliminated and reduced to five. A new Sengkang GRC was formed from portions of the former Punggol East and Sengkang West SMCs and the boundaries of Tampines GRC were altered for the first time since 2001, due to the increase in population in the northeastern area of Singapore. Four new SMCs were also carved out (Kebun Baru, Yio Chu Kang, Marymount and Punggol West), three former SMCs were absorbed into neighboring GRCs (Fengshan, Punggol East and Sengkang West), while two SMCs (Hong Kah North and Potong Pasir) had their boundaries modified. The remaining SMCs and four GRCs (Aljunied, Holland-Bukit Timah, Jurong and Tanjong Pagar) were left untouched, though the Workers' Party raised questions on the abolition of SMCs that it had previously contested and lost by a narrow margin. The changes saw about 13% of voters being allocated to a new constituency while increasing the amount of seats from 89 to 93.
The changes made in the electoral divisions are as follows:
|Name of GRC||Changes|
|Ang Mo Kio GRC||Ward downsized to five members|
Absorbed western portions of Sengkang West SMC
Carved out Yio Chu Kang division into SMC
|Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC||Carved out Bishan North division into SMC, and Novena and Balestier to Jalan Besar GRC|
Absorbed Toa Payoh portion from Potong Pasir SMC
|Chua Chu Kang GRC||Carved out Nanyang division to West Coast GRC and portions of Tengah New Town into Hong Kah North SMC|
|East Coast GRC||Ward upsized to five members|
Absorbed Fengshan SMC
|Jalan Besar GRC||Absorbed portions of Novena and Balestier portion from Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC|
|Marine Parade GRC||Carved out a major portion of Bidadari into Potong Pasir SMC|
|Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC||Absorbed portions of Woodlands and Innova from Sembawang GRC|
|Nee Soon GRC||Carved out Kebun Baru division into SMC|
Absorbed portions of Simpang and Yishun from Sembawang GRC
|Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC||Ward downsized to five members|
Carved out Punggol West division into SMC, Sengkang Central division to Sengkang GRC, and Tampines North to Tampines GRC
|Sembawang GRC||Carved out Woodlands and a few parts of Innova to Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC, and portions of Simpang and Yishun to Nee Soon GRC|
|Sengkang GRC||New Constituency|
Formed from Punggol East SMC, eastern portions of Sengkang West SMC, and Sengkang Central from Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC
|Tampines GRC||Absorbed Tampines North from Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC|
|West Coast GRC||Ward upsized to five members|
Absorbed portions of Nanyang from Chua Chu Kang GRC and Bulim portion of the Hong Kah North SMC
Disruptions from COVID-19 pandemic[edit source | edit]
During a Straits Times forum on 11 March, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said that the timing of the elections could be affected in view of the worsening pandemic. On 25 March, Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean told Parliament that he believed it would be unconstitutional for the President to form a caretaker government unless a state of emergency had been recommended by the Cabinet to the President.
On 28 March, Tan Cheng Bock responded to Teo's comments by saying that the unconstitutional nature of a caretaker government as a result of a postponing a general election would be far more preferred than having a health emergency by exposing millions of Singaporeans to potential COVID-19 infection.
On 7 April, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing introduced the Parliamentary Elections (COVID-19 Special Arrangements) Bill to Parliament which would allow voters under Stay-Home Notices or Quarantine Orders related to COVID-19 to vote outside of their normal electoral divisions in the upcoming General Election. The Bill was passed by Parliament on 4 May and assented to by the President on 15 May. The Parliamentary Elections (COVID-19 Special Arrangements) Act 2020 came into operation on 26 May.
The restrictions on gatherings of more than five people meant that opposition parties seemed unlikely to gather for their usual discussions to avoid a possible multi-party fights in certain constituencies.
Restrictions on election campaigning[edit source | edit]
On 18 June, the ELD introduced temporary measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19, such as no rallies and TV screenings pertaining to the election are to be held, instead replacing with e-rallies and a new "Constituency Political Broadcast", and nomination centres will no longer admit members of the public or supporters during nomination day. Walkabouts and campaigning vehicles are still allowed, though safe distancing and minimal physical contact still applies, and candidates are also not allowed to make speeches or physical rallies, including during the campaigning from campaigning vehicles, meaning that there will be no parades held by the candidates after the election.
During polling day, voters are given a recommended two-hour time slot (from 8am to 8pm) on their ballot card as a measure to counter long queues during polling; measures for safe distancing still applies, however, due to a constitution where voting is mandatory, it is currently unknown whether voters with fever or respiratory symptoms are exempt from voting.
Political developments[edit source | edit]
People's Action Party (PAP)[edit source | edit]
On 13 March 2016, the PAP MP for Bukit Batok SMC David Ong resigned over personal indiscretions with a party grassroots activist. In the subsequent Bukit Batok by-election, the People's Action Party candidate and former Aljunied GRC candidate Murali Pillai defeated the opposition Singapore Democratic Party candidate Chee Soon Juan to reclaim the seat for the PAP.
In the lead up to the 2017 Singapore presidential election, Speaker of Parliament and MP for Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC Halimah Yacob resigned from the party on 7 August 2017 to fulfill regulations prohibiting the President of Singapore from any party affiliations. As she had vacated her seat in Parliament, there were calls for a by-election, though the Court of Appeal eventually ruled that there was "no duty to call a by-election when a single vacancy arises in a GRC".
On 23 November 2018, Heng Swee Keat and Chan Chun Sing were respectively elected as the party's first and second assistant Secretary-General to the PAP's 35th Central Executive Committee. The two assistant posts were seen as an indicator of Lee Hsien Loong's successor, given that the upcoming election is likely to be Lee's last. Following the announcement of Heng Swee Keat's appointment as the sole Deputy Prime Minister on 1 May 2019, succeeding Teo Chee Hean and Tharman Shanmugaratnam, former MP Inderjit Singh said that the PAP intends to showcase Heng's imminent ascent to the top post and dispell rumours of any surprises in the leadership sucession.
Workers' Party (WP)[edit source | edit]
On 3 November 2017, then-Secretary-General and Aljunied GRC incumbent MP Low Thia Khiang announced during a speech on the party's 60th anniversary that he would not contest the next party elections. During the party's 2016 Central Executive Committee election, Chen Show Mao had mounted a surprise challenge for the leadership post but lost the election to Low in a 41–65 vote. In the leadership election on 8 April 2018, Pritam Singh was elected unopposed as successor to Low as the party's new Secretary-General.
Observers say that the lack of a contest was a good sign of internal unity, and that the party is keen to demonstrate its multiracial credentials now that it has a non-Chinese secretary-general, for the first time since 2001 with J. B. Jeyaretnam.
On 30 April, Low was hospitalized due to a head injury, and was discharged on 21 May. On 25 June, Low was confirmed not to be standing for this election for the first time after 32 years, as Low is currently in rehabilitation.
New parties[edit source | edit]
- 2011 presidential election candidate and former Ayer Rajah SMC MP Tan Cheng Bock returned to politics under the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) that he founded together with several previously contested candidates on 18 January 2019. The PSP was officially registered by the Registrar of Societies on 28 March 2019.
- Former leader of the National Solidarity Party (NSP), Lim Tean founded Peoples Voice which was officially registered by the Registrar of Societies on 31 October 2018.
- On 29 May 2020, Ravi Philemon and Michelle Lee, former members of the PSP, announced that they had submitted an application to register a new political party, Red Dot United, with the Registry of Societies. The party was successfully registered on 15 June 2020.
Other parties without parliamentary presence[edit source | edit]
- The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) began campaigning on 23 February 2019, and announced a few key campaign agendas over March and May that year. Ahead of the election, the party recruited ex-DPP leader Benjamin Pwee.
- On 16 October 2019, the Singapore People's Party (SPP) saw its first major leadership change since its formation with opposition veteran Chiam See Tong stepping down as secretary-general of the SPP after holding the post for 23 years since December 1996, with former Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Steve Chia succeeding Chiam on 5 November 2019.
- On 3 January 2020, four political parties (Singaporeans First, People's Power Party, Reform Party and Democratic Progressive Party) formally agreed to contest in the election as an alliance. Three months later, on 1 April, the four parties decided to join the Singapore Democratic Alliance instead; however, the SDA has since placed their membership applications on hold, though it seeks to maintain an informal alliance. On 25 June, Singaporeans First's chief Tan Jee Say announces its dissolution of the party.
Timeline[edit source | edit]
|13 March||Publication of the Electoral Boundaries report|
|15 April||Certification of Registers of Electors|
|8 June||Appointment of POFMA alternate authorities during election period|
|18 June||Release of preliminary campaigning guidelines|
|23 June||Dissolution of 13th Parliament; Writ of Election issued|
|26 June||Deadline of Submission of Political Donation Certificates|
|30 June||Nomination Day|
|30 June–8 July||Campaigning Period|
|2 July||First Political Party Broadcast|
|3–7 July||Constituency Political Broadcasts|
|9 July||Cooling-off Day and Second Political Party Broadcast|
|10 July||Polling Day|
Pre-nomination day events[edit source | edit]
List of notable events that occurred prior to Nomination Day on 30 June 2020. All times are reflected in Singapore Standard Time (SGT).
|1 March||The Registers of Electors revised eligible candidates with a cut-off date of 29 February. The certification was enacted on 15 April.|
|13 March||The Electoral Boundaries Review Committee published a report on new electoral boundaries.|
|30 April||Template:SG/WP/logo||Aljunied GRC incumbent Low Thia Khiang was warded to the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital's ICU ward following a head injury, and the party informed on the hospitalization three days later on 3 May. Low was transferred to a general ward on 4 May, and eventually discharged on 21 May.|
|17 June||Red Dot United announced that it has been registered as a political party three weeks after submitting its application.|
|18 June||The Elections Department Singapore released preliminary campaigning guidelines pertaining to campaigning and social distancing amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, just a day before Singapore enters the second phase of reopening.|
|20 June||Template:SG/SPP/logo||The SPP unveiled its candidates for two constituencies:
|21 June||Template:SG/SDP/logo||SDP secretary-general Chee Soon Juan announced his candidacy for Bukit Batok SMC, which he had previously contested in the 2016 by-election.|
|22 June||Template:SG/SDA/logo||Harminder Pal Singh was warded to Changi General Hospital at about 8.50pm during a walkabout in Pasir Ris while filming a campaign video for the team in Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC. In addition, SDA leader Desmond Lim announced plans to contest only Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC.|
|23 June||4pm- Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong held a televised announcement highlighting future challenges facing Singapore and the relative stability of the COVID-19 situation, then announced the dissolution of the 13th Parliament of Singapore; President Halimah Yacob dissolved the parliament and the writ of election is published. The Returning Officer Tan Meng Dui adjourned nominations to be held 30 June, and Singapore would go to the polls on 10 July.|
|Template:SG/PAP/logo||Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Member of Parliament of Jalan Besar GRC, announced his retirement on Facebook.|
|PSP leader Tan Cheng Bock announced plans to contest eight constituencies: West Coast GRC, Choa Chu Kang GRC, Tanjong Pagar GRC, Hong Kah North, Marymount, Pioneer, Yio Chu Kang, and Kebun Baru.|
|Template:SG/WP/logo||WP released a video featuring 12 faces of the party, including leader Pritam Singh, chairperson Sylvia Lim, NCMP Dennis Tan, former Punggol East SMC MP Lee Li Lian and former NSP member Nicole Seah. Incumbent MPs Chen Show Mao, Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap and former leader Low Thia Khiang were absent from the video.|
|RDU unveiled its candidates for Jurong GRC: Ravi Philemon, Michelle Lee, and Liyana Dhamirah. However it had also indicated it will step aside if PV chooses to contest in the same constituency.|
|Template:SG/PPP/logo||PPP secretary-general Goh Meng Seng announced that the party will be contesting MacPherson SMC and Radin Mas SMC.|
|24 June||Template:SG/RP/logo||RP leader Kenneth Jeyaretnam announced they will withdraw from West Coast GRC to facilitate opposition unity even though the team had contested there in 2015, avoiding a potential three-cornered fight with the PAP and PSP. It will now only contest in Radin Mas SMC, Yio Chu Kang SMC and Ang Mo Kio GRC. It will engage in a three way contest with the PSP and PAP in Yio Chu Kang.|
|PSP unveiled Lee Hsien Yang, younger brother of Lee Hsien Loong and also the younger son of Lee Kuan Yew, as a party member. The younger Lee is considering contesting the election.|
|Template:SG/PAP/logo||PAP announced that there will be 26 new candidates this election which will be unveiled over the next few days, bur declined to reveal where the candidates would be standing. The first two groups of four new candidates were announced as followed:|
|Template:SG/PV/logo||PV chief Lim Tean announced that the party will be contesting Punggol West SMC and Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, setting the stage for a three way contest in the latter.|
|Template:SG/SDP/logo||SDP announced via Zoom that the party will be contesting Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC, Bukit Panjang SMC and Yuhua SMC.|
|Template:SG/NSP/logo||NSP secretary-general Spencer Ng announced that the party will be contesting Tampines GRC and Sembawang GRC, dropping plans to contest in Pioneer SMC.|
|25 June||Template:SG/PV/logo||PV announces intention to contest Jalan Besar GRC, Pasir-Ris Punggol GRC, Pioneer SMC, Mountbatten SMC and Punggol West SMC.|
|Template:SG/PAP/logo||PAP unveiled three more batches of new candidates:
|Perennial candidate Ooi Boon Ewe picked up nomination forms and revealed that he will be standing at Bukit Panjang SMC; if nominated, this would be Ooi's second election since 2001 after unsuccessful nominations in the interim elections, and also the second consecutive election with independent candidates standing.|
|Template:SG/WP/logo||WP announced its intention to contest East Coast GRC, Marine Parade GRC, Sengkang GRC and Punggol West SMC, while defending its current seats in Aljunied GRC and Hougang SMC to be helmed by former NCMPs Gerald Giam and Dennis Tan, respectively. Incumbent MPs Low Thia Khiang, Chen Show Mao and Png Eng Huat will step down as MPs and not contest in the election.|
|Tan Jee Say announced via Facebook that he had dissolved Singaporeans First.|
Nomination day[edit source | edit]
On 30 June 2020 from 11am to 12pm, each candidate is required to file their nomination papers (along with the approval of a proposer, a seconder and at least four assentors), a political donation certificate (by before 26 June), and pay an election deposit of S$13,500 (down from SG$14,500 in the previous 2015 election, but also the same amount as seen in the 2016 by-election) in any of the nine designated schools or through online to complete their application. Additionally, in the case for Group Representation Constituencies, their team must consist of at least one minority candidate and must also submit a community committee form (Malay or Indian/other minority which is dependent on the constituency's requirements).
The list of nine schools designated as nomination centers are:
|Bendemeer Primary School||Bishan-Toa Payoh GRCM, Jalan Besar GRCM, Radin Mas SMC, Tanjong Pagar GRCIO|
|Chong Fu School||Kebun Baru SMC, Marsiling-Yew Tee GRCM, Nee Soon GRCIO, Sembawang GRCM|
|Deyi Secondary School||Aljunied GRCM, Ang Mo Kio GRCIO, Marymount SMC, Yio Chu Kang SMC|
|Jurong Pioneer Junior College||Chua Chu Kang GRCM, Hong Kah North SMC, Pioneer SMC|
|Kong Hwa School||MacPherson SMC, Marine Parade GRCM, Mountbatten SMC, Potong Pasir SMC|
|Methodist Girls’ School||Bukit Panjang SMC, Holland-Bukit Timah GRCIO|
|Nan Hua High School||Bukit Batok SMC, Jurong GRCIO, West Coast GRCIO, Yuhua SMC|
|Poi Ching School||Hougang SMC, Tampines GRCM|
|St Anthony’s Canossian Primary School||East Coast GRCM, Pasir Ris-Punggol GRCM, Punggol West SMC, Sengkang GRCM|
- M- Indicates a GRC requires a Malay minority candidate; IO- Indicates a GRC requires an Indian or other minority candidate
As in the case of previous elections, candidates will lose their deposit if they are unable to garner at least one-eighth (12.5%) of the valid votes cast within the contested constituency.
Pre-polling day events[edit source | edit]
The list of events that occurred from nomination day until the eve of Polling day on 10 July 2020. All times are reflected in Singapore time (SGT). Similar to the previous elections since 2011, candidates can begin campaigning for votes starting from the end of Nominations until two days before Polling day; the eve of polling day and after the last day for the campaigning period is cooling-off day, during this time campaigning is prohibited except for party political broadcasts.
Incumbent/Outgoing members[edit source | edit]
Outgoing MPs[edit source | edit]
A list of outgoing MPs who will be stepping down from their constituencies are reflected in the table.
|Name||Constituency (Division)||Party||Current Portfolio||Announced Date||Remarks|
|Template:Sort cell||Jalan Besar GRC (Kolam Ayer)||Template:SG/PAP/logo||Former Cabinet Minister (Muslim community/Communications and Information)||23 June 2020|
|Template:Sort cell||Marine Parade GRC (Marade Parade)||Template:SG/PAP/logo||Former Prime Minister and Emeritus Senior Minister||25 June 2020|
|Template:Sort cell||Aljunied GRC (Bedok Reservoir-Punggol)||Template:SG/WP/logo||Former Leader of the Opposition/Workers' Party's Secretary-General||25 June 2020|
|Template:Sort cell||Aljunied GRC (Paya Lebar)||Template:SG/WP/logo||Member of Parliament||25 June 2020|
|Template:Sort cell||Hougang SMC||Template:SG/WP/logo||Member of Parliament||25 June 2020|
See also[edit source | edit]
- Constituencies of Singapore
- Elections in Singapore
- Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on politics
- List of political parties in Singapore
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