There was hardly any doubt that the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) would not retain its majority in the Singapore Parliament. With the 'sample count' (100 ballots) coming out two hours after the polls closed at 10 PM, it indicated that PAP could continue its dominance.
Although there is a margin of error of 1-4 percentage points in the final count of the results of the poll, the sample count is an indication of who is going to win. If it is anything to go by, out of 93 contested seats, PAP is going to win 83 while main opposition Workers' Party (WP) will retain Aljunied GRC and Hougang SMC beside gaining Sengkang GRC for a total seat of 10. Newcomer Progress Singapore Party (PSP) is in a close fight in West Coast GRC against PAP with 48 percent of votes.
PAP is expected to win from Kebun Baru, Hong Kah North, Potong Basir, Marymount, Pioneer, Bukit Batok, Radin Mas, Yio Chu Kang, Punggol West, Bukit Panjang, MacPherson, Mountbatten, Yuhua SMCs and Marin Parade, Nee Soon, Sembawang, Jurong, East Coast, Chua Chu Kang, Marsiling-Yew Tee, Pasir Ris-Punggol, Tampines, West Coast, Tanjong Pagar, Bishan-Toa Payoh, Jalan Besar, Holland-Bukit Timah and Ang Mo Kio GRCs.
DPM Heng's Fate Hangs in Balance
However, it is a close contest in the East Coast GRC which has been a hot topic of debate among netizens. PAP's team that includes Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, Maliki Osman, Jessica Tan, Cheryl Chan and Tan Kiat How, is leading only with 54 percent of mandate against WP's line-up of Dylan Ng, Kenneth Foo, Nicole Seah, Terence Tan and Abdul Shariff Aboo Kassim.
Considering the margin of error involved in the sample count, Heng, who is considered to be Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's successor, may not return to the parliament. If that is to happen, it is likely to put the plans of PAP's leadership in jeopardy.
WP Makes Inroads
For WP, they might gain four additional seats in the parliament. Apart from leading in Hougang SMC and Aljunied GRC — WP's stronghold — the Pritam Singh-led party is leading in the newly formed Sengkang GRC against PAP. The WP team includes Dr Jamus Lim, Raseeah Khan, He Ting Ru and Louis Chua. They are up against PAP line-up that consists of three sitting MPs — Ng Chee Meng, Lam Pin Min and Amrin Amin — besides newcomer Raymond Lye Hoong Yip. WP is leading with 53 percent of votes. People were seen cheering WP in the Sengkang GRC late on July 10 night.
While it was in many ways a different election altogether for political parties in the city-state, opposition parties, mainly WP made inroads and cut into PAP's vote-bank. Considering only a fortnight was allowed for political parties to complete election campaign and make strategies, it was difficult for the opposition parties mainly.
In addition, restrictions and social distancing norms still in place due to the Coronavirus pandemic, political parties were not allowed to organize physical rallies apart from doorsteps and walkabouts. The campaigning for the first time completely shifted digital. Social media and allotted TV time became the only tools to reach voters. But as it stands, oppositions' message to increase their seats in parliament was well received by the voters.