Internal election drama at Workers' Party headquarters

Internal election drama at Workers' Party headquarters
MEETING: Veteran party members meeting at a coffee shop near the Workers’ Party headquarters before the council election.

Party elections within the Workers' Party (WP) are usually non-events.

And by all accounts, it was business as usual yesterday with Ms Sylvia Lim and Mr Low Thia Khiang being returned unchallenged as chairman and secretary-general respectively.

But something has been brewing since 2011 and it came to a boil with the older guard openly expressing their unhappiness at how they say they have been treated by the party bigwigs.

How bad was it?

Cadre members, who have voting rights, spoke candidly with The New Paper. And this was done yesterday at a coffee shop under the party headquarters along Syed Alwi Road.

They voiced their displeasure at how the party had sidelined its veterans, some of whom have been around for more than 15 years since the time of former party leader J. B. Jeyaretnam.

"We are trying to do something (in the election). See for yourself later," said cadre member John Gan, who was formerly the chairman of the party alongside Mr Jeyaretnam.

Did they succeed?

Six newer members of the Central Executive Council (CEC) did not get the votes they needed to be returned to their positions on the council while two members of the "old guard" were elected. (See report on facing page.) 

At the 2012 election, there were 18 CEC members. Twelve of those 18 were re-elected yesterday. Two older members - Mr L. Somasundaram, 51, and Dr John Yam Poh Nam, 52, - were also elected, bringing the total number in CEC now to 14.

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