Minister of Trade and Industry, Chan Chun Sing that the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) has not been formed yet, indicating that the upcoming general election might not happen in September as speculated.
Mr Chan was responding to a question raised by Workers’ Party’s Pritam Singh in Monday’s (8 July) Parliament sitting to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who wanted to know if PM Lee has established the committee, and if not, when he intends to do so.
Mr Chan in his written response on behalf of PM Lee, wrote: “The Prime Minister has not yet appointed the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee.”
This is the second time that Mr Pritam Singh had raised the question on when PM Lee when will the committee to be formed.
He had earlier posed the question back in February 28, and said: “It would be a waste of Parliament’s time, and bordering on an abuse of process, if an MP had to file the same parliamentary question to the Prime Minister when rumours of an imminent election are in the air.”
At that time, Mr Chan’s response to Mr Pritam’s question was that the committee should allowed to focus on its work professionally, away from unnecessary media attention or public pressures.
The formation of the committee is generally taken as a strong indication that a general election is round the corner.
When it comes to a general election, the formation of the EBRC is the first step that shows that GE is approaching as it redraws constituency boundaries.
In the 2006 and 2011 elections, EBRC had taken four months to finish up its work before submitting its report. While in 2015, the forming of the EBRC was only revealed two months after its formation due to a question filed by the Workers’ Party MP.
Although there is no exact deadline for the election date to be announced after the report is made public, in the previous elections it has taken anytime from one day to one month and 26 days.
For those who’re unaware, the committee is appointed by the Prime Minister and chaired by the Secretary to the Prime Minister. It is also normally made up of five civil servants and its role is to split or shrink GRCs, as well as to absorb or create more SMCs, based mainly on population shifts.
Currently, there are 16 GRCs and 13 SMCs in the Republic.
Once the committee’s report is published, the next step leading to the Polling Day is for the Parliament to be dissolved and the writ of election be issued.
Following that, it is the Nomination Day, which must happen anytime between 5 days to one month after the writ in issued. The Nomination Day is the beginning of the campaign period, which has to be a minimum of nine days.
There is also a Cooling-Off Day before voters can cast their ballots on Polling Day.