In last Friday’s general election (10 Jul), the People’s Action Party (PAP) won 83 of the 93 seats garnering an overall 61.2% of valid votes. In total it won 15 GRCs and 13 SMCs.
The opposition Workers’ Party (WP) won a record 10 seats, retaining the 5-seat Aljunied GRC, and wresting the 4-seat Sengkang constituency from PAP. It also won the single seat precinct of Hougang. The WP contested 21 out of the 93 parliamentary seats.
In those constituencies contested by WP, its percentage of valid votes actually exceeded 50% at 50.5%. The new Progress Singapore Party (PSP) also did not do that badly considering that it was a first timer. PSP garnered 40.9% in those constituencies it had contested. The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) came in 3rd at 37.0%. The worse performing party was People’s Voice, capturing only 21.3% of the valid vote shares in the constituencies it had contested.
Chong Ja Ian, a political scientist with the National University of Singapore, attributed the marked drop in the PAP’s vote share from the 69.9 per cent it won in 2015 to “less satisfaction with how the PAP has been handling policies from the economy to the coronavirus pandemic”.
“In the Singapore context, this is a defeat [for the PAP],” said Dr Bridget Welsh, who is a former political science professor with the Singapore Management University. She opined PAP made a mistake thinking that the pandemic crisis “would help them”.
Analyst Woo Jun Jie said the ruling party could also have been “negatively affected by some long-standing bugbears, such as growing income inequality and the growing number of foreign PMETs”.
Loke Hoe Yeong, author of First Wave, a book on the history of the Singapore opposition, said the opposition’s performance surprised even themselves. “The results have surpassed the expectations even of some in the opposition,” Loke said. “It also looks like voters are voicing their disapproval of the PAP calling a general election in the midst of the pandemic.”
In terms of spoilt votes, it has been observed that those constituencies contested by WP incurred the least percentage of spoilt votes at 1.2%. This was followed by PSP (1.4%) and SDP (1.8%). PV and RP incurred the most at 2.8% and 2.9% respectively.
(Note: SDA/PV refers to PP GRC where there was a 3-cornered fight. For Pioneer SMC, the independent candidate was not considered. Other than PP GRC and Pioneer SMC, the rest of the constituencies were a direct fight between PAP and an opposition party).
At the constituency level, followings are the statistics for spoilt votes incurred with the respective opposition party contesting in those constituencies:
In general, voters are less likely to spoil their votes if they are more certain in who they would vote for.