Voting begins in snap elections considered a test for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s People’s Action Party.
Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) has won a sweeping victory in a snap parliamentary election, extending its 56 years in power as official results early on Saturday showed it had taken 83 of 89 seats.
The results from Friday’s vote strengthened the mandate of the party and of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong amid an economic slowdown.
The win came six months after the death of his father, independence leader Lee Kuan Yew, plunged Singapore into mourning and generated a wave of patriotism.
Lee Hsien Loong, who won the Ang Mo Kio constituency, thanked his supporters for giving “us this very good result.”
“We are very grateful, we are very happy, but at the same time, we are very humbled by the result. … Tomorrow will be better than today. SG100 will be better than SG50,” he said, referring to the 50 years that the PAP has ruled Singapore since independence in 1965.
Criticism on democracy
The PAP led Singapore, a former British colonial outpost, to industrialised status in just one generation but was criticised for jailing dissidents and using defamation suits to cripple the opposition.
There was never any doubt the PAP would win a majority, but the results were a marked improvement over its performance in 2011, when – although it took 80 of the 87 seats available – its share of votes cast plunged to an all-time low of 60 percent.
No national figures were immediately available for each party’s vote share early Saturday, but the prime minister reportedly won 79 percent of the votes cast in his district, up from 69 percent in 2011.
Lopsided results in favour of the PAP were also registered in other key districts.
“Our polling all year showed likelihood of PAP bouncing back,” said David Black, managing director of local research firm Blackbox.
“The only surprise was the extent of it,” he told the AFP news agency.