Declaring that "we are in election season", People's Action Party (PAP) organising secretary Ng Eng Hen said yesterday that the party will unveil its candidate line-up over the next two weeks - with some as early as tomorrow.
This clearest sign from the ruling party that an early general election is on the cards comes even as opposition parties ironed out their competing claims to set the stage for straight fights for all 89 seats.
If the situation is unchanged on Nomination Day, it will be the first time since Independence that every one of the current 2.46 million eligible voters will get a chance to cast their ballot in a general election.
Dr Ng's announcement that the PAP will detail the MPs who are retiring and the slate of candidates contesting in each GRC and single-seat ward came as the National Solidarity Party (NSP) and Singaporeans First (SingFirst) party untangled the last of overlapping claims to constituencies they had with the Workers' Party (WP) and Reform Party (RP) respectively.
The NSP is giving up Marine Parade GRC and MacPherson ward to the WP, and SingFirst will not contest Ang Mo Kio GRC, which the RP had first claimed.
Dr Ng, who spoke after visiting residents in areas newly acquired by his Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC following boundary changes, told reporters he wanted to "talk about GE 2015". He said the PAP held off introducing candidates until after the jubilee weekend, but with that over, "we are in election season".
Over the next two weeks, the party will name its retiring MPs and unveil its line-up according to constituencies the candidates will contest in. There are 16 GRCs and 13 single seats following the electoral boundaries review last month.
Dr Ng said there will be at least 22 new faces. The party manifesto and constituency plans will follow and departures and introductions will take place at the constituency level.
"Where previously we'd only announce the whole slate of candidates on Nomination Day, we're telling you who's going to stand well before... The reason why we've made this change is that we believe this is better politics," he explained. "It's better to tell the residents upfront who's standing in your constituency so they can examine on record what candidates have done, can do, and they can make intelligent choices after examining both - whoever the political parties are sending, who can better serve."
He said previously that there will be very few surprises as PAP candidates have been on the ground, some for over two years, and will be familiar to residents.
Opposition parties have also picked up the pace with the RP, NSP and WP on walkabouts yesterday.
This article was first published on August 11, 2015.
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