PM Lee talks about possibility of a GE2019, we speculate if it is possible
It could come within the next six months.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong raised the possibility of calling a general election in 2019, during the bicentennial commemoration of Sir Stamford Raffles’ landing in Singapore.
PM Lee’s comments were made at a dialogue session during the inaugural Bloomberg New Economy Forum on Nov. 6.
They were in response to a question by Bloomberg News editor-in-chief John Micklethwait, on whether the 200th anniversary of Raffles’ arrival would be a reason to bring forward the election.
“Many reasons to bring an election forward”
Here’s what Micklethwait asked:
“Next year is the 200th anniversary of Stamford Raffles’ coming here. Why not — would that be a reason to bring the election forward? You have the possibility of an election in 2021?”
In response, PM Lee gave a hedged reply, stating:
“It’s always possible. There are many reasons to bring elections forward or not, so we’ll see.”
This drew laughter from the crowd and elicited Micklethwait’s response that:
“You are learning the art.”
GE2015 was one month after SG50 National Day
It is worth nothing that one month after the SG50 National Day celebrations, the General Elections 2015 was called.
Back then, as noted by multiple political analysts, the 50th anniversary of Singapore’s independence had played a part in the outcome of the GE2015 results.
Given that Raffles first landed in Singapore on Jan. 29, 1819, is there a possibility that the GE 2019 could be called in February or even the March school holidays, a month after the bicentennial commemoration?
Incidentally, the party conference of the People’s Action Party will be taking place this Sunday (Nov, 11). This is also when the biennial Central Executive Committee (CEC) election will be held.
Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam had earlier remarked that the CEC elections results would give an indication of “how things are working out” in terms of leadership transition within the PAP.
If a clear front-runner for the next Prime Minister is decided after the CEC elections, it may be possible for PM Lee to lead his troops for a February or March general election next year. This is because the electorate would be able to have the clarity that a successor is in place.
In the meantime, the high profile court case involving Aljunied-Hougang Town Council and Workers’ Party Members of Parliament Low Thia Khiang, Sylvia Lim and Pritam Singh will conclude some time after oral closing submissions in March 2019.
The outcome of the case may also have some bearing on the elections.
You can watch the moment of the exchange between Lee and Micklethwait here:
While the full video can be seen here:
Screenshot from Bloomberg New Economy Forum