4 opposition parties to form alliance to take on PAP in upcoming general election

The last time an opposition alliance formed was in 2001.

Belmont Lay | January 04, 2020, 03:07 AM

Four opposition parties in Singapore are in talks to contest the next general election as an alliance, The Straits Times reported on Jan. 3, 2019.

This rare show of unity among the smaller opposition parties in Singapore is almost unprecedented as they have traditionally gone at it alone the past few elections to challenge the incumbent People's Action Party.

The next GE is to be held by April 2021.

Four parties in talks

ST said the four parties in talks are the Singaporeans First party (SingFirst), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), People's Power Party (PPP), and Reform Party (RP).

The new alliance is reportedly to be led by Tan Jee Say, who is SingFirst secretary-general, but ST was unable to attribute this claim to one person as it did not get anyone to go on record.

The supposed plan is to field about 30 election candidates.

Talks of forming an alliance occurred after the 2015 GE, an unnamed PPP source told ST.

ST said they aim to register the alliance at the end of January 2020.

Why form an alliance?

In terms of probability, an alliance would reduce the risk of costly three-cornered fights.

Singapore has 11 opposition parties, the largest number since independence.

Consolidation would slash the figure to just eight.

Singapore People's Party (SPP), National Solidarity Party (NSP), People's Voice party, and Progress Singapore Party (PSP), which is led by former PAP MP Tan Cheng Bock, have been contacted by the other four parties in talks.

But these other four parties gave non-committal responses when asked about whether they are joining this alliance.

Two months to register new alliance

Citing the Ministry of Home Affairs, ST reported that it takes about two months to register a new political alliance.

The application to register a new political alliance will be treated the same as applications by any other proposed societies or political parties, ST said.

Political associations are specified societies under the Schedule of the Societies Act.

SDA only alliance to have contested elections

Historically, only the Singapore Democratic Alliance has contested elections here.

SDA was founded by veteran opposition politician Chiam See Tong in June 2001.

The alliance comprised the NSP, Singapore People’s Party (SPP), Singapore Justice Party (SJP), Singapore National Front (SNF) and Singapore Malay National Organisation (PKMS).

SDA currently consists of just the SJP and the PKMS, after NSP and SPP left the alliance in 2007 and 2011 respectively.

In February 2019, there was talk about opposition unity in Singapore.

This was after Workers' Party leaders attended the Chinese New Year gathering hosted by former PAP MP Tan Cheng Bock.

Earlier in July 2018, opposition political party leaders said they were receptive to the idea that Tan Cheng Bock became their leader.