Ruling party wins Singapore elections before vote
December 23, 1996
Web posted at: 12:00 p.m. EST (1700 GMT)
SINGAPORE (CNN) -- Singapore's ruling party has won the
country's eighth general elections without a single ballot
At Monday's deadline for nominations for Singapore's
parliament, the People's Action Party (PAP) -- which has run
Singapore since 1959 -- faced no opposition in 47 of the
legislative body's 83 seats.
Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong and former Prime Minister Lee
Kuan Yew were among those to be returned to office unopposed.
Goh has been prime minister since 1990.
The country's election commission set the date for the
election for January 2, allowing the minimum nine days for
campaigning after the close of nominations.
Analysts say the short time between nomination and election
gives opposition candidates little chance of mounting
Opposition candidates held only four of the previous
parliament's 81 seats and said they were adopting what they
called a "by-election" strategy for the upcoming vote --
fielding candidates only in elections they feel they have a
chance to win.
Singapore analysts say the public has little faith in the
opposition's ability to run the government. The opposition
parties deliberately avoided fielding enough candidates to
unseat the PAP in order to reassure voters that the
opposition couldn't take control, they said.
With a PAP victory assured, analysts said, Singapore voters
be more inclined to support opposition candidates on the
principle that an dissenting voice is needed in
"It is a generally accepted fact that a large part of the
opposition's support stems from Singaporeans' desire to have
opposition voices in parliament and not so much from their
wanting an alternative government," said Straits Times
columnist Chua Lee Hoong on Sunday.
Jakarta Bureau Chief Maria Ressa and
Reuters contributed to this report.
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