NSP says it will not contest Marine Parade and MacPherson constituencies

PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - The National Solidarity Party (NSP) has decided not to contest Marine Parade GRC and MacPherson SMC to avoid three-cornered fights with the Workers' Party in those seats.

In a press statement issued on Aug 10, NSP acting secretary-general Hazel Poa said "multi-cornered contests are likely to dilute opposition votes" and that the chances for a more "diverse parliament" will be reduced.

NSP will instead stand for elections in Tampines GRC, Sembawang GRC and Pioneer SMC, according to the press release.

While the party has announced its decision, it also said that the WP did not respond to its attempts to resolve the issue.

"Had the WP been present at Thursday's meeting (between Opposition parties), this issue could have been resolved and a joint statement issued. We had hoped that WP and NSP can issue a joint statement as a symbol of cooperation. We have not yet received a response to date. As there are many who are anxious for an outcome, NSP decided not to delay any further, but to make an announcement on our own," said NSP.

On Monday (Aug 10), WP chairman Sylvia Lim, thanked the NSP for announcing its decision early in a Facebook update.

She said: "WP will continue to focus on its preparations and campaign on the 10 constituencies announced."

stephluo@sph.com.sg

Press release issued by NSP on Aug 10:

NSP will NOT be contesting in Marine Parade GRC and MacPherson SMC

It was a difficult decision for us to take. Just as Yee Jenn Jong was disappointed when Joo Chiat SMC was absorbed into Marine Parade GRC, so were NSP members who have been walking the ground in Marine Parade GRC.

However, we recognise the voters' desire for greater opposition representation in Parliament, where opposition parties got only 10 per cent of the seats despite garnering 40 per cent of popular votes.

Multi-cornered contests are likely to dilute opposition votes and reduce the chances of a more diverse Parliament. We trust that Workers Party will send in good candidates and give voters in these two constituencies a choice.

Opposition parties met twice for discussion to avoid multi-cornered contests, once on Monday 3 Aug, and again on Thursday 6 Aug.

For GRCs, NSP had intended to contest in Marine Parade GRC, Tampines GRC and Chua Chu Kang GRC as these are grounds we had continued walking subsequent to GE2011.

Subsequent to the Monday meeting, NSP representatives had discussed internally and were prepared to withdraw from Marine Parade GRC, and contest only in 2 GRCs.

At the meeting on Thursday, SDP announced that they would voluntarily withdraw from Sembawang GRC in the hope that it would help resolve remaining claims. Indeed, this has created room for further compromises amongst the parties present.

Eventually, the outcome of the negotiations is that NSP will contest in Tampines and Sembawang GRCs, and Pioneer SMC.

Had Workers' Party been present at Thursday's meeting, this issue could have been resolved and a joint statement issued. On Friday 7 Aug, NSP wrote an email to WP to inform them of our decision not to contest in Marine Parade, and asked if WP would like to discuss how we can jointly announce this to the public.

We had hoped that WP and NSP can issue a joint statement as a symbol of co-operation. We have not yet received a response to date. As there are many who are anxious for an outcome, NSP decided not to delay any further, but to make this announcement on our own.

NSP would like to take this opportunity to thank SDP for voluntarily withdrawing from Sembawang GRC in the interest of opposition unity. We would also like to apologise to the residents in Marine Parade GRC and Chua Chu Kang GRC for not contesting there in this coming GE, and hope for their understanding.

Many people have been contacting NSP, via Facebook or pm, to tell us what you think about this issue. We would like to thank all of you for making the effort to talk to us, and hope that you will continue to do so.

Thank you all, and Happy National Day.

Hazel Poa

Secretary-General

NSP

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