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Singapore's Parliament Dissolved; Writ of Election Issued. Here's What to Expect.

Upon the advice of the Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, President Halimah Yacob dissolved the parliament this afternoon (23 June). 

In a televised announcement, PM Lee said that the Nomination Day for GE 2020 will be held next Tuesday, on June 30. There will be the minimum of nine days to campaign before Cooling-off Day on July 9, and Polling Day will be on July 10. It will be a public holiday.

In his televised address, PM Lee said he decided to call the general election now, while the COVID-19 situation is relatively stable, to "clear the decks" and give the new government a fresh five-year mandate. 

It was also mentioned that this election will be like no other that Singapore has experienced, not just because of the special arrangements made to deal with COVID-19, but also because of the gravity of the situation, as well as the issues at hand.

After the election, the new government will have to focus on the national agenda – which includes healing from the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy and jobs – and the difficult decisions it will have to make and carry, he said. 

The alternative would be to wait out the pandemic. "But we have no assurance that the pandemic will be over before this Government’s term ends next April,” PM Lee explained. The virus is expected to linger for at least a year – most probably longer – until a vaccine is available.

PM Lee also said that he had to be certain of two things before deciding to dissolve the parliament: that voters can vote safely, and that political parties can campaign effectively, before adding that he is “satisfied” with the special considerations in place.

The additional precautions include more polling stations to reduce crowding, specific time slots for voting and safe distancing measures. Voters will also be required to wear gloves prior to entering the voting booths.

And unlike previous years, this time the elections will not feature physical rallies. Instead, constituency political broadcasts will be broadcasted live on Channel 5, with each candidate being allocated with three minutes of airtime, on top of two party political broadcasts which will be aired on 19 TV and radio channels. 

For parties that intend to do door-to-door campaigning, they'll have to limit their groups to five people, wear face masks, and practice physical distancing.

To check which constituency you will be in this general election, check out this interactive map by The Straits Times.

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Naomi
26 Jun 2020
interesting...
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