'About 24' new PAP faces likely in next election

'About 24' new PAP faces likely in next election
A file photo of PM Lee Hsien Loong on Nomination Day at the 2006 General Election.

The People's Action Party (PAP) is likely to field about 24 fresh faces in the next General Election (GE), continuing the pace of political renewal seen in recent polls.

Each of the last two elections introduced 24 new names, and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong indicated in an interview with Singapore reporters this week that the number of PAP candidates debuting in the upcoming GE would be "around that figure".

Among them might also be the next prime minister, Mr Lee said. Asked about whether his future successor is already in the current Cabinet, he said it is possible but "not entirely certain".

"I will bring in some MPs and some new people with leadership calibre in the next General Election," he added.

"Therefore, we should be able to find a successor between this election, the previous election and the next election."

The next PM will not have as much time as Mr Lee did to prepare for the top job, but Mr Lee noted that countries such as Britain and the United States have elected leaders without much governing experience.

As the problems facing Singapore become more complex, an "able" leader will be needed to withstand the tests and secure the support of the people, he added.

In the interview, Mr Lee also dropped some hints about what to expect at the hustings.

Some GRC teams fielded by the PAP may be led by ministers of state or other political office-holders, rather than by Cabinet ministers as has been the custom in recent years, he said when asked.

If the situation calls for it, such an arrangement cannot be ruled out and "everyone should be prepared for this possibility".

While he would not be drawn on potential changes to the electoral boundaries, he said he was "satisfied" with the decision in the last GE to reduce the average number of members in each group representation constituency and add more single-member constituencies.

This article was first published on January 17, 2015.
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