Rules out: A Phase 2 general election will have no physical rallies, no screenings at coffee shops

Not your typical election.

Syahindah Ishak | June 18, 2020, 02:00 PM

The Singapore Elections Department (ELD) has announced a new set of campaigning guidelines should the 2020 General Election (GE) be held during Phase 2 of post-circuit breaker.

Phase 2 will start after 11:59pm on June 18.

ELD stated that the new rules follow Ministry of Health (MOH)'s guidelines pertaining to Phase 2, since this is the phase Singapore is progressing toward.

However, the announcement of these guidelines has no relation to the timing of the GE, added ELD.

What are the new rules?

No physical rallies

As large group gatherings are not allowed under Phase 2, no police permits will be granted for any election meetings.

This includes rallies and gatherings at Assembly Centres on vote-counting night.

However, campaigning activities on television and online are allowed to take place.

This GE, there will be more airtime on national free-to-air TV channels for political parties and candidates.

Voters are advised to watch the Party Political Broadcasts (PPBs) from their own homes, and not gather in groups beyond the sizes allowed under MOH's guidelines.

Two PPBs will be aired on 19 TV and radio channels this upcoming GE.

Each candidate contesting in a Single Member Constituency (SMC) will be given three minutes of airtime on national television -- a new rule.

Similarly, each group of candidates contesting in a Group Representation Constituency (GRC) will be given 12 minutes or 15 minutes respectively, depending on whether it is a four or five-member GRC.

Candidates may also carry out campaigning activities online, such as holding a virtual rally livestream.

No screenings at F&B outlets

Television and video screenings will not be allowed at F&B outlets under Phase 2.

ELD said that owners of F&B outlets should not screen political broadcasts, online rallies or other election-related broadcasts on their premises as they can draw crowds.

No supporters at Nomination Centres

Nomination proceedings will be covered "live" on TV and online channels.

Only candidates, their proposers, seconders, assentors, and accredited media personnel are allowed to enter the Nomination Centres.

Supporters will not be allowed entry and should not gather or loiter in the vicinity of Nomination Centres.

Security personnel will be deployed to advise them to leave the area.

No prolonged interaction during walkabouts and house visits

Political parties and candidates can conduct their usual walkabouts and door-to-door campaigning.

However, any group doing walkabouts or house visits should only have a maximum of five persons.

In addition, there should be no mixing between groups.

Each group should also remain at least 1m apart from other groups.

During these activities, candidates must wear masks, maintain safe distancing, keep all interactions short, and minimise physical contact, such as shaking hands.

No thank-you vehicular processions after Polling Day

Candidates can also use perambulating vehicles for campaigning, but they will not be permitted to speak or livestream or broadcast music or videos from the vehicle.

Additionally, police will not grant permits for thank-you vehicular processions after Polling Day as such processions tend to attract crowds.

A safe election

ELD said that it will take all necessary measures to protect the health and safety of voters, candidates, election agents, and election officials this GE.

Previously, it had announced plans for safety measures to be implemented for Nomination Day and Polling Day.

"ELD calls on all members of the public, candidates and their election agents to be socially responsible, and to play their part by adhering to safe distancing measures during campaigning and polling to ensure a safe election for everyone," added ELD.

Top image from Wikimedia Commons.