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 the 1991 GE results 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 the 1988 GE, yet with all contests being pure straight fights, something not seen before.
Deputy PM and Singapore's first Coordinating Minister, Dr Tony Tan, stepped down again. Meanwhile, a rejuvenated WP, led by its secretary-general and sole Member of Parliament Low Thia Khiang and first woman chairman Sylvia Lim, released its manifesto ahead of PAP. It also took an unusual move to field a novice team headed by rising star Yaw Shin Leong in PM Lee's Ang Mo Kio GRC. Dubbed the "suicide squad", which also included the GE's youngest candidate Abdul Salim Harun, it was encouraged by the securing of one-third of the votes.
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 from taking nude photographs of himself and his maid, as well as a drunk-driving incident. Again, NSP provided the bulk of close to half the number of candidates for the alliance.
SDP's central executive committee fell into disarray again 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 the polls due to bankruptcy proceedings by MM Lee and SM Goh in 2006 and being fined for speaking without a permit in 2002.
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. This was one of the few GEs where no increase to the number of seats was recommended.
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 form that Gomez alleged the Elections Department misplaced but the CCTV at ELD's office 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 both opposition MPs reversed their fortunes. Twice PAP candidate in Hougang, Eric Low, ran in his final contest and was the second from PAP after Pang Kim Hin in the 1981 by-election who never had the chance to enter Parliament.
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.
One NCMP seat was alloted and it went to Sylvia Lim, who became WP's third NCMP and the first woman opposition lawmaker in post-independence Singapore. After three unsuccessful bids, Chia announced his retirement from politics, which he eventually did not adhere to.
|10th Parliament dissolved:
20 April 2006, Thursday
27 April 2006, Thursday
6 May 2006, Saturday
10 May 2006, Wednesday
|11th Parliament opening:
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] (94.0%)