General Election 2015 at midway point

Supporters of the Workers' Party (left) and the People's Action Party flag their allegiance on Nomination Day. The front line of the electoral battle seems to be in the eastern part of Singapore, where close fights between the PAP and the WP are expe
Supporters of the Workers' Party (left) and the People's Action Party flag their allegiance on Nomination Day. The front line of the electoral battle seems to be in the eastern part of Singapore, where close fights between the PAP and the WP are expected in East Coast GRC, Fengshan SMC and Marine Parade GRC.ST PHOTO: STEPHANIE YEOW

More parties and more candidates this time but voters less worked up by frenzy of campaigning

It is half-time in the election campaign that will see 2.46 million voters head to the polls on Friday, Sept 11.

A quiet campaign thus far, it is significant nonetheless because it cements the return of politics to Singapore. There are more parties and more candidates this time than in May 2011 but the frenzy of activity has generated much less heat among voters, with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong welcoming the change and saying "cooler is better".

The first three days saw a fierce exchange between the People's Action Party and the Workers' Party over the town council issue but both have now decided to move on, and refocus on their core messages.

For the PAP, this election is about securing the future of Singapore. For the WP, it is about increasing the number of opposition members in Parliament to check on the PAP government.

Reflecting voters' view that there is a lack of engagement on policy, ST's editor-at-large Han Fook Kwang sums up the state of play as akin to a football match where spectators are unsure where the ball is. What's clear is that there has been no killer goal so far, he says.

The front line of the battle seems to be in the eastern part of Singapore, where close fights between the white and blue teams are expected in East Coast GRC, Fengshan SMC and Marine Parade GRC.

The other parts of Singapore also bear watching, as a reformed Singapore Democratic Party stirs interest in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, where it is contesting for the second time.

The strongest party in town, which has in all likelihood won the match, leaving only the scoreline to be decided, is banking on the popularity of its poster boy to bring in the vote.

He is none other than PM Lee himself, who is leading the PAP charge for the third time and campaigning hard even in opposition-held wards as he shows his grasp of the new politics of personal connection.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 06, 2015, with the headline 'General Election 2015 at midway point'. Print Edition | Subscribe