PAP retains power, winning 81 of 87 parliamentary seats

SINGAPORE - Singapore's ruling party PAP has retained power, winning 81 of the 87 parliamentary seats in the general election, some with razor-thin margins.

With a record high two million votes cast, PAP secured 60.1% of the popular votes, a drop from the 66.6% in the 2006 general election.

The big casualties for PAP were Foreign Minister George Yeo, Second Finance Minister Lim Hwee Hua and senior minister of state Zainul Abidin Rasheed, who was slated to be the Speaker in parliament. The trio stood as a team in the hotly-contested Aljunied Group Representative Constituency (GRC).

The Workers' Party's (WP) 'A' team made history for the opposition, when it wrested the five-seat constituency with 72,165 votes (54.71%) against PAP's 59,732 votes (45.29%).

This is the first time the opposition has won a GRC.

Singapore has two types of constituencies - Single Member Constituencies (SMC), which are single-seat contests, and the GRC where 4,5 or 6 candidates (including one from minority ethnic group) stand as a team.

A win in a GRC means a win of all the seats in that constituency.

Low Thia Kiang, who led the winning WP Aljunied team, said Singaporeans had made a real breakthrough for future generations.

"You have cast aside doubts and fears and taken a real leap of faith," he said in his victory speech.

He said he would be pushing for a more inclusive, responsive and transparent government.

The opposition also managed to retain the Hougang SMC, which gave it a total of six seats in parliament, triple the number it had before the elections were called. All the opposition seats were won by WP.

Besides WP, the other opposition parties contesting the elections were Singapore People's Party, National Solidarity Party, Singapore Democratic Party, Reform Party, Singapore Democratic Alliance and Socialist Front.

The opposition, however, suffered a huge blow, when Chiam See Tong, who is Singapore's longest-serving opposition MP, lost in the Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC.

Chiam, who had been the Potong Pasir MP since 1984, switched seats to contest in a GRC instead to make the breakthrough in a group constituency for his Singapore People's Party (SPP).

But the gamble failed, with SPP securing 47,092 votes (43.06%) against the PAP's 62,282 votes (56.94%).

SPP suffered a double blow when it also lost the Potong Pasir SMC. Chiam's wife, Lina, who had contested in Potong Pasir, was defeated by 114 votes. There were 242 spoilt votes.

PAP managed to hold on to the Joo Chiat SMC by a whisker, with a 2.02% winning margin.

For the Marine Parade GRC, the PAP team led by Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong secured 56.65% of the votes, beating Nicole Seah's National Solidarity Party (NSP) which picked up 43.35% of the votes.

This means that 27-year-old Tin Pei Lin - PAP's youngest candidate in the elections - who was in Goh's Marine Parade team will be in parliament.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong remained popular, easily retaining the Ang Mo Kio six-seat GRC by securing 69.93% of the votes.

The fight for the Holland-Bukit Timah GRC turned out to be not so hot after all.

The PAP team led by Dr Vivian Balakrishnan romped home with 60.10% of the votes against the Singapore Democratic Party team led by Vincent Wijeysingha, which took 39.9%.

As for the Tampines GRC, the opposition (NSP) put up a good fight. However, PAP picked up the five-seat constituency with 57.22% of the votes against NSP's 42.78%. -The Star/Asia News Network