[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific

Singapore's ruling party loses by-election

The People's Action Party lost its second by-election in eight months to the opposition Worker's Party.
Last Modified: 27 Jan 2013 10:11
Saturday's by-elections won Workers' Party candidate Lee Li Lian a seat in the parliament [Reuters]

Singapore's ruling People's Action Party (PAP) has been defeated for the second time in eight months in by-elections, signalling widening discontent over immigration policies and rising income inequality. 

Saturday's defeat gives the opposition Workers' Party another seat in parliament - candidate Lee Li Lian won 54.5 percent of almost 29,800 votes cast in the Punggol East district, faring better than three other candidates including the PAP's Koh Poh Koon, who received 43.7 percent. 

The Workers' Party now has seven seats in parliament and the PAP has 80. 

"Despite this victory, the Workers' Party is still a small party with much to do and improve upon," said party chairwoman Sylvia Lim.

The PAP, which has ruled the country since 1959, has seen its support decline in recent years due to rising discontent over the high cost of living, an influx of foreigners and rising income inequality.

It won only 60 percent of the votes in the 2011 general election. 

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that the PAP "will continue to work to improve the lives of Singaporeans, and present our report card for voters to judge in the next general elections".

Analysts say PAP's defeat forces the party to re-examine policies that have brought about popular discontent in the city-state. 

"This is a shock for the PAP," said Bridget Welsh, an associate professor of political science at the Singapore Management University. 

"They went to the polls so quickly with confidence and had expected to win. It forces the PAP to have a very serious evaluation of their policies, and what they've done wrong." 

Andrew Loh, a political blogger, said the PAP's loss "is a reflection of the uncertainty that Singaporeans have about their future. They also want stronger voices in parliament."

288

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
More than fifty years of an armed struggle for independence from Spain might be coming to an end in the Basque Country.
After the shooting-down of flight MH17, relatives ask what the carrier has learned from still-missing MH370.
Human rights and corporate responsibility prompt a US church to divest from companies doing business with Israel.
Afghan militias have accumulated a lengthy record of human-rights abuses, including murders and rapes.
Growing poverty is strengthening a trend among UK Muslims to fund charitable work closer to home.
join our mailing list