Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Friday (27 March) that it’s best to give six months for the whole COVID-19 situation to settle first before holding the next General Election (GE).
“But nobody can say – it may well get worse, and I expect it can easily get worse before it gets better,” he told to reporters at the Istana.
He added, “You have to make a judgment in this situation with an outbreak going on, with all sorts of exceptional measures implemented in Singapore, is it possible for us to conduct an election and to get this done so that we clear the decks and we can go through and deal with whatever lies ahead?”
Mr Lee explained that it will be difficult to have an election in countries that have a general shutdown, like the United Kingdom. This is because there will be many logistics issues like getting ballot boxes in place and voting.
However, if a country is not in that situation, then life still continues even if other safety measures like safe distancing is still in place.
“But short of that situation, even when you have restrictions and some safe distancing measures, life still goes on: People are working, people can travel, people can conduct the poll,” PM noted.
As an example, the premier stated that countries like Israel have went ahead and held elections recently. Even the United States carried on with primary elections in most of its states, he added.
If that not all, PM Lee also said that with social media and the Internet, an election can still be conducted with proper measures in place, although it might not be the most ideal situation.
“These are, to a large extent, solvable problem,” he opined.
He continued, “You have to think of solutions for them, but it can be done, and I think that we have to weigh conducting an election under abnormal circumstances, against going into a storm with a (government) mandate which is reaching the end of its term.”
Earlier on 14 March, PM Lee has hinted in a Facebook post that election will be held early so as to “elect a new government with a fresh mandate” and the government “will take all the precautions necessary, so that parties can campaign effectively, and people can vote safely.”
Strongest leadership team with strongest mandate required
Separately, PM Lee also said on Friday that the Republic is facing a very big storm and it will need the strongest leadership team with strongest mandate to get through this crisis.
Additionally, he also pointed out that this team will also need “the longest runway so that Singapore can have the best leadership” to defeat the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“That’s a very desirable – in fact, essential – requirement for us to see through this together,” he said.