No Rallies for Election to Singapore’s Rubber-Stamp Legislature

In what might have been a big deal for most countries, Singapore announces that if it is still in “stage 2” of its coronavirus measures, there will be no election rallies.

In a major announcement, political parties in the city-state will not be able to hold “mass rallies,” but will instead be permitted extra television time.

Amusingly the election department, which comes under the purview of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, said in a statement it was releasing the campaigning guidelines “to give political parties and candidates time to plan their campaigning activities.”

As of today and as part of the easing of restrictions, Singaporeans may now meet in groups of up to 5 people. It has now been confirmed that political parties will not be exempted from this directive.

All parties though, will be given added airtime where they will be required to speak in English, Malay, Mandarin, or Tamil.

The added airtime includes a special provision for candidates contesting the country’s 93 seats to make “constituency political broadcasts” ranging from three minutes for single-seat constituencies to as long as 15 minutes for larger group representation constituencies of three to five MPs.

Physical “door to door” campaigning though is to allowed, so long as candidates keep to social distancing norms.

The amount of effort put into governing the election in Singapore might seem strange to outsiders given the political history of elections in the city-state.

Singapore is currently ruled by the Lee Hsien Loong, son of first leader Lee Kuan Yew, and as of now, the only two leaders the country has ever experienced. He represents the People’s Action Party (PAP), who have been in power uninterrupted since 1959.

The parliament of Singapore consists of 105 members, of 93 ow which are elected by the populace, 8 are Non-constituency Members of Parliament (best-placed losers), whilst 9 are non-political members appointed by the President.

Of the 91 directly elected seats to the parliament, the PAP currently holds 82, with the opposition Workers Party holding nine seats.

This has often led to Singapore being called “North Korea with high-speed internet.”

Political commentators have therefore concluded that the changes probably won’t put much of a dent in the 51 years of the Peoples Action Party.

For a list of other dictatorships, you might not know about check out this article.

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