Singapore (dpa) – The ruling People’s Action Party scored a landslide
victory Saturday morning as the most fiercely contested election in
Singapore’s independent history ended with dramatic swings away from
opposition parties.

The PAP, which has governed Singapore since 1959, won all but two
constituencies with largely comfortable margins. It polled at 69.86
per cent, a turnaround from the 2011 general election, where the
party received its lowest-ever vote share of 60.1 per cent.

“Thank you very much for giving us a chance to continue to serve you
with all our hearts. We are humbled by your trust in us, and we are
humbled by your trust in [Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong] and the
whole PAP team to take Singapore forward to a better future,” Deputy
Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said.

Lee Li Lian, a candidate of the opposition Workers’ Party who lost
her seat by a narrow margin, said: “We respect the voters’ decision.
There could be a lot of factors which we will go back to evaluate. We
cannot take any election for granted.”

Although accepting the result, some opposition politicians continued
to raise issues related to the electoral process, such as the
Elections Department being under the purview of the Prime Minister’s
Office and the regular redrawing of electoral boundaries every
election.

“Despite everything that’s happened, the opposition still labours
under a very undemocratic system,” said Chee Soon Juan, leader of the
Singapore Democratic Party. “I do worry if we continue on in this
fashion the future of Singapore is not going to be where we all want
to see it go.”

The polling stations were open for 12 hours until 8 pm (1200 GMT),
after a fiercely fought election campaign in which opposition parties
sought to break the PAP’s unbroken hold on power.

The PAP had been expected to win another majority in the new
Parliament, whose membership has been increased to 89, but opposition
parties called for voters to increase their support for more diverse
voices as a check on the ruling party.

“We visited 15 polling stations in all throughout the day, and people
were excited, happy, polling for the first time,” Tan Jee Say,
secretary general of the new opposition party Singaporeans First,
told Channel NewsAsia.

The party is contesting a constituency previously helmed
by Singapore’s first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, who died in March.

Polling was orderly, but some voters reported queues at their polling
stations on social media. Others praised the process for being swift
and efficient.

The members of Parliament were chosen from 16 group representation
constituencies, in which four to six candidates run as teams, and 13
single-member constituencies.