GE2015: Three-cornered fight for MacPherson SMC between PAP, WP and NSP

The People's Action Party's Tin Pei Ling, the National Solidarity Party's Cheo Chai Chen and the Workers' Party's Bernard Chen.
The People's Action Party's Tin Pei Ling, the National Solidarity Party's Cheo Chai Chen and the Workers' Party's Bernard Chen.

SINGAPORE - In a surprise twist, the single-seat ward of MacPherson might be set for a three-cornered fight after all, after the National Solidarity Party (NSP)'s Cheo Chai Chen said he will throw his hat into the ring on Nomination Day morning.

Mr Cheo, 65, announced that he will stand in MacPherson when he arrived at Kong Hwa School to file his nomination papers.

This means that MacPherson will likely see a three-cornered fight between Mr Cheo, the People's Action Party's (PAP) Tin Pei Ling, 31, and the Workers' Party's Bernard Chen, 29.

Mr Cheo was an MP for Nee Soon Central from 1991 to 1997 under the Singapore Democratic Party.

Ms Tin, the incumbent MP, came in for fierce criticism at the last election but appears to have turned the tide of public opinion in her favour.

Addressing her supporters before filing her nomination papers, Ms Tin said: "Today is the day. We will put up a tough fight. We will put up our best and 101 per cent. Thank you for fighting this with me. Every vote counts we are the best party to do this."

The WP and the NSP have crossed swords over MacPherson in recent weeks, after both sides disagreed over who should contest in the single-member constituency.

The NSP made several U-turns in the lead-up to Nomination Day over whether or not it would contest MacPherson.

After initially agreeing to not contest the seat, the NSP then voted last month to field a council member there. The decision prompted acting secretary-general Hazel Poa to resign from the party.

The party then flip-flopped on that controversial decision again, when Mr Steve Chia announced on social media that he would not contest MacPherson SMC or any other constituency in the general election, threatening to throw the party - already seemingly troubled by factional splits - into disarray.

MacPherson was part of the Marine Parade GRC in the last election in 2011 and reportedly garnered the second-highest PAP vote share among the wards in that GRC.

Candidates will file their nomination papers between 11am and noon on Tuesday (Sept 1).