Singapore is a sovereign republic, governed by its Constitution. The system of government is modelled after the British system that separates the executive, legislative and judiciary powers. In the recent general elections, Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) maintained its unbroken grip on power even though its popular support slipped to a near record low. Led by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the PAP — which has been in power since 1959 — won 83 out of 93 seats in parliament, securing a super majority. The Workers’ Party took the remaining 10 seats — the most ever held by opposition lawmakers since the city-state’s first general election in 1968. The PAP’s share of the popular vote also slid to 61.2%, down from nearly 70% five years ago and close to the party’s record low of 60% in 2011. The election saw a voter turnout of nearly 96%. This is functioning democracy in action.
For long, PAP has been Singapore and Singapore has been synonymous with PAP. However, things are set to change it appears. It started with Workers’ Party gaining 10 seats in Parliament – a record for any opposition party in Singapore and amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic. Additionally, in April 2021, the Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat’s announced that he was stepping aside as the ruling party’s leader-in-waiting (4th Gen leader). Citing age a step reason, since at 60, Mr Heng said he would be much too old by the time he is ready to enter office, which will be after the current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will hand over the reins which will happen “only once Singapore is in good working order again”.
Though there is time for the succession, we will need to wait and watch Who will be Singapore’s next PM?
Sumit Dutta is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of ASEAN Business Partners. Prior to this, Sumit spent 26 years working for HSBC, one of the biggest banks in the world, in countries including Indonesia, Vietnam, USA, Hongkong and India.
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