Tuesday, 15 September 2015

GE2015: Foreign Media


Behind Singapore Ruling Party's Victory, A Rising Star

SINGAPORE, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Singapore's ruling party is celebrating a resounding re-election victory, thanks partly to its economic Tsar, an ethnic Tamil politician whose voter appeal poses an awkward question for its leaders: can a non-Chinese ever become prime minister?

As the People's Action Party (PAP) settles down to another five years in power, the guessing game of who will succeed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has begun — and the name of Tharman Shanmugaratnam keeps coming up.

The odds of Shanmugaratnam, who is deputy prime minister and finance minister, making it to the top job should be long.

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Why Singapore Is a Safe Harbor in Asia’s Economic Tempest

“The decisive mandate that Singaporeans handed to their long-ruling party last week reinforced the tiny country’s status as a bastion of stability for foreign investment in a region grappling with growing instability.

The overwhelming parliamentary majority was widely expected, and Singapore’s status as a financial center was never threatened, but the result eased a sense of uncertainty that had taken root since 2011.

The stability comes in contrast with most of Singapore’s neighbors, where political leaders are losing support. Malaysia is facing its most serious crisis of confidence since the Asian financial meltdown of 1997-98.”

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Singapore Ruling Party Wins Elections, Returns to Power
At a polling station in Singapore on Friday, a voter prepared to cast her ballot in a general election that could test the governing People’s Action Party. All 89 seats in Parliament are being contested, with the populist Workers’ Party the main opposition. Credit Edgar Su/Reuters

Singapore's prime minister on Saturday lauded the city-state's youth vote for helping return his party to power in a massive victory for the 12th time since independence a half-century ago.

The victory of the People's Action Party was never in doubt — it has won every elections since 1965 — but the huge sweep in Friday's general elections means the struggling opposition made no headway despite highlighting problems like income disparity, restrictions on free speech, overcrowding caused by immigration, and the rising cost of living.

The PAP got 83 of the 89 seats in Parliament while the opposition Workers' Party captured six. In an indication that the PAP has regained some of its lost popularity, it won 69.86 percent of the votes cast, according to the Elections Department, compared to 60 percent votes in the 2011 elections.

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Singapore's incumbent power wins a striking mandate

GENERAL elections in Singapore are not supposed to spring surprises. But the size of the victory handed on September 11th to the People's Action Party (PAP), which has won every national poll since the 1950s, caught many on the hop. Having fallen to an historic low of 60.1% at the previous polls in 2011, its share of the vote bounced back to nearly 70%. It snapped up 83 of 89 seats in parliament, thumping an opposition which was widely thought to be on the rise.

The PAP’s clear mandate brings to a close several years of soul-searching that followed the big losses it suffered at the ballot box four years ago. Under pressure, the PAP found a populist streak: it dug out more cash for Singapore's oldest citizens; sponsored a construction spree designed to temper house prices; and promised to slow immigration, which had lately rocketed. Action on those contentious issues, and on others, appears to have satisfied many of the voters who had set out to punish the party four years ago.

The result also vindicates the electoral strategy chosen by the prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, who called the poll a year before it was required. His party doubtless benefited from patriotic celebrations of Singapore's 50 years of independence, which fell on August 9th—and also from the national mourning which followed the death in March of Lee Kwan Yew, Mr Lee's father. The senior Lee had been Singapore’s prime minister for more than 30 years, and embodied the country’s pride in its own accomplishments. Under his son this time, the PAP he built conducted a breakneck campaign, allowing only nine days of politicking, the minimum required by law.

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Singaporeans vote overwhelmingly to return PAP to power

“Friday’s resounding win — in which the PAP boosted its total share of the vote to 69.9 per cent and took 83 of the 89 seats on offer — also appears to vindicate the party’s handling of Singaporeans’ concerns that had dogged the government for years, including house prices, pension issues, an influx of immigrants and the slowing economy.”

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Singaporeans fall back on tried and tested party

Every four or five years, Singaporeans vote in general elections without ever asking the question: Which party can best run the government? That's a no-brainer. It's the same party that's been ruling the wealthy Southeast Asian city-state for a half-century. The questions most ask instead is how much voice should they give the opposition.

That explains the overwhelming majority that the People's Action Party has won in every election since independence in 1965, including the last one on Friday, which returned it with an even greater share of the votes than before. It was a result that any political party in the world would salivate over — 83 of 89 seats in Parliament and 70 percent of all votes cast.

In some ways, it was the direct outcome of the PAP's relatively poor showing in the 2011 elections, when even though it won 81 of the 87 seats at stake, it garnered only 60 percent of the votes.

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Singapore’s ruling party batters opposition in huge election win

“Robert Stark, vice-president for south-east Asia for Marriott hotels, said that since the last election the labour market had constricted, leading the company to implement reforms such as mobile check-in to become more efficient.

‘Concerns for the election from a business standpoint is the tight labour market. It continues to be a subject that employers grapple with,’ he told the Guardian ahead of the results.

Stark said regardless of the election outcome Singapore will keep ‘a strong reputation as a business hub. That is not going to go away.’

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Singapore ruling party in decisive election win
Lee Hsien Loong, Singapore's prime minister and leader of the People's Action Party (PAP), and his team bow to supporters on Saturday. Photo: Bloomberg

Friday's election came during year-long celebrations honouring Singapore's 50th anniversary of independence in August that have generated a wave of patriotism.

There was never any doubt the ruling party would win a mandate but the size of the victory stunned opponents who hoped to benefit from signs of discontent, especially among young voters and the poor.

Voters have strengthened the hand of the prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew's 63-year-old son, to deal with an economic slowdown, with some analysts predicting the city-state is on the verge of a technical recession amid concerns about China's slowdown and volatile markets.

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Singapore election: Governing party secures decisive win
It was a sweet moment for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

Results showed the PAP had secured 83 of 89 seats, winning nearly 70% of the ballots cast. The party has won every election since independence in 1965.

Patriotic feeling over the death of long-term leader Lee Kuan Yew may have swelled the vote, analysts said.

The opposition, running in all constituencies for the first time, had hoped to challenge the PAP's dominance.

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PAP rules again – with more votes

“WHAT a wonderful, amazing win by the People’s Action Party (PAP),” Singapore’s former Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Zainul Abidin Rasheed WhatsApped early yesterday morning.

The ruling party has returned to power in the island republic’s general election as expected but with a far larger share of the popular votes – 69.9%, up from 60.1% in 2011 and even surpassing 66.6% in the 2006 polls.

It has won a big mandate from the 2.46 million eligible voters, clinching 83 out of 89 seats in 29 constituencies. For the first time since independence in 1965, all seats were contested.

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Singapore's ruling People's Action Party makes landslide gains in country's most-contested polls

Singapore's ruling party romped to a strong election victory taking 83 out of 89 seats as it brushed off an opposition challenge in the city state's most hotly contested polls.

The results from Friday's vote strengthened the mandate of the party and of prime minister Lee Hsien Loong amid an economic slowdown.

The People's Action Party (PAP), which has ruled since independence in 1965, was always expected to win, but opposition parties, contesting in all seats for the first time, had hoped to gain enough votes to challenge its domination of politics.

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Singapore's ruling party stages crushing election win to extend its 56 years in power
Lee Hsien Loong, Singapore's prime minister and leader of the People's Action Party (PAP), celebrates the party's landslide victory in the general election. Photo: AFP

Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) won a sweeping victory in a snap parliamentary election, extending its 56 years in power as official results early Saturday showed it had taken 83 of 89 seats.

The results from Friday’s vote strengthened the mandate of the party and of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong amid an economic slowdown.

The win came six months after the death of his father, independence leader Lee Kuan Yew, plunged Singapore into mourning and generated a wave of patriotism which analysts said benefitted the party.

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Singapore swing
The People’s Action Party’s election victory is the optimal pendulum swing, argues Bridget Welsh.

Singapore’s ruling party led by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong secured a decisive victory in the country’s 12th General Elections overnight.

By all accounts – including my own – they won 69.9 per cent of the popular vote, cutting into the 2011 election gains of the Worker’s Party who lost one of its seats, as well as soundly defeating the opposition as a whole.

The result came as a surprise.

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