UPDATE, 3 September, 9.50am: “Under the law, the face of the political party’s leader can be used in the posters for the candidates standing for that political party, since voters would be able to identify the political party leader with that political party. This has been the practice in past elections.” – Government website, Factually.
Concerns have been raised since posters bearing the face of Lee Hsien Loong, secretary general of the People’s Action Party (PAP), have been mounted all over Singapore.
Questions of whether this is allowed under elections rules have been sent to the Election Department (ELD).
And as the above posting by National Solidarity Party candidate, Kevryn Lim, shows, the ELD seems to have said that it is perfectly alright for political parties to do this. (See here.)
However, the ELD’s explanation seems to contradict what the statutes say, with regards to where such posters of any individual candidate can be displayed.
The Online Citizen (TOC), in order to seek clarification, has sent the following enquiry to the ELD on Thursday, 3 September.
The Online Citizen (TOC) seeks the following clarifications from the Elections Department:
- Section 10 of the Parliamentary Elections (Election Advertising) Regulations provides that the Returning Officer:
…shall issue to every candidate or group of candidates, or to each candidate’s election agent, a permit substantially in the form set out in the Schedule authorising the display of posters and banners in any public place in the electoral division in which the candidate or (as the case may be) group of candidates seeks election
- Also, in your handbook titled, “Candidate Handbook for Parliamentary Election 2015”, section 4.4.3. (pg. 23) provides that:
At the end of nomination proceedings, the Returning Officer will issue to the candidate or his election agent a permit authorizing the display of posters and banners in public places within the electoral division where the candidate is contesting in.
- From the above provision, it appears that candidates may only place banners/poster within the constituency that s/he is contesting. TOC has observed that posters of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong are mounted outside of Ang Mo Kio GRC.
- Some of the locations, where such posters are mounted include:
- TOC would like to clarify whether posters of such nature that are mounted outside of the constituency that the candidate is contesting is in breach of section 10.
- TOC would also like to seek a clarification on a precise definition of what constitutes a “poster” under Section 2 of the said regulation. Can the ELD provide examples of what constitute permissible and impermissible posters?
- Additionally, TOC would also like to ask the ELD whether the permit issued by the Returning Officer is publicly available, and if not, would the ELD make the permit available for public inspection?