THE Workers' Party returned its leaders to power yesterday as it elected its top decision-making body, one that is expected to take the party into the next general election.
Mr Low Thia Khiang and fellow Aljunied GRC MP Sylvia Lim kept their secretary-general and chairman posts respectively, in the party's biennial conference of organisers.
The party's seven other parliamentary representatives, Aljunied GRC MPs Pritam Singh, Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap and Chen Show Mao, Hougang MP Png Eng Huat, Punggol East MP Lee Li Lian and Non-Constituency MPs Gerald Giam and Yee Jenn Jong, were also all elected as members of the central executive council (CEC).
Yesterday, speaking to reporters after the four-hour long party conference, Ms Lim said that the election had been "fiercely contested".
But she said there was "continuity", adding that only two new members were brought into the council this time.
They are former council member Dr John Yam, who was not re-elected in 2012, and newcomer L. Somasundaram, a polytechnic lecturer who contested in Moulmein-Kallang GRC in the 2011 General Election.
Party sources said that while the two top leadership positions were not contested, more than 20 people vied for the other 12 spots on the council.
The Straits Times understands that Mr Chen received the most number of votes, as had been the case in the last conference in 2012. Ms Lee and Mr Singh were also said to have done well.
The new council has four fewer members than the previous one, as the party's Constitution allows for only 14 spots on its CEC, unless there is a tie.
In the 2012 conference, 15 people were elected. But the party also co-opted three new faces into the council last year, bringing the total number to 18.
Among the three co-opted members, two of them - sociologist Daniel Goh and lawyer Dennis Tan - were re-elected yesterday. Mr Mohammed Rahizan Yaacob, who was vice-chairman, was also re-elected.
Meanwhile, six from the previous council did not get re-elected. They included Ms Frieda Chan and Ms Glenda Han, who had both stood in the 2011 General Election. The others are Ms Ng Swee Bee and Mr Toh Hong Boon, who were both organising secretaries, Ms Jane Leong, who was vice-chair of the WP's media team, and Mr Koh Choong Yong, who was webmaster.
Of the election, Ms Lim said: "It was a fiercely contested CEC election, with many people putting themselves up for election. So I would think that this is part of the democratic process and we are glad. The cadres have made their decision and we are going to move forward... On the whole, it went smoothly."
The new council has a two-year term and is expected to be the one leading the party into the next general election, which has to be held by January 2017.
Asked if she was confident of the team's ability to do so, Ms Lim said: "There's no reason for me not to be confident. I've known them for quite a while... they are not new entities."
Mr Low declined to comment.
Yesterday's conference was attended by about 70 cadre members.
This article was first published on July 28, 2014.
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