The Reform Party (RP) unveiled its first batch of candidates yesterday (15 Jun), setting up a possible 3-cornered fight with the People’s Action Party (PAP) and the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) in West Coast GRC.
Three of those introduced were part of the five-man team led by its Secretary-General Kenneth Jeyaretnam that contested West Coast GRC in the last election.
RP said it intends to contest in West Coast GRC, Ang Mo Kio GRC, Radin Mas and Yio Chu Kang in the upcoming GE.
RP has, in fact, contested twice at West Coast GRC. In 2011 GE, RP garnered 33.3% losing to PAP. It tried again in 2015 GE, losing to PAP another time but with an even lower percentage votes at 21.4%.
Overall, support for RP was the lowest among the opposition parties in the last GE with RP garnering only 20.6% of the valid votes in constituencies contested by party.
In both 2011 and 2015 GEs, Mr Jeyaretnam led the team to run against PAP at West Coast GRC.
Other than West Coast GRC, Mr Jeyaretnam also contested at Punggol East SMC in the 2013 By-Election. The Punggol East seat was vacated after PAP MP Michael Palmer resigned abruptly on 12 Dec 2012 due to “personal indiscretion”.
It was a 4-cornered fight at Punggol East ultimately resulting in WP’s victory. Mr Jeyaretnam lost heavily at Punggol East, garnering only 353 votes out of 29,859. He lost his election deposit as a result.
Last Friday (12 Jun), it was also reported that PSP is close to finalising its candidates who will join Dr Tan Cheng Bock’s team to contest in West Coast GRC. The team will include Ms Hazel Poa, and newcomers Jeffrey Khoo and Nadarajah Loganathan.
When asked about opposition unity, Mr Jeyaretnam replied, “In fact, we are pretty unified. We have been cooperating. We hope to avoid three-cornered fights.”
In the biodata sheets sent out by RP, one of its candidate said he wants to represent concerns of Singaporeans in Parliament, while another said the causes close to his heart are freedom of speech.
In any case, with RP and PSP entering a possible 3-cornered fight in West Coast GRC, it can only mean good news for PAP Minister Iswaran, who is currently heading the GRC.