PAP wins big with 69.9% of vote

PM Lee Hsien Loong and his Ang Mo Kio GRC team celebrating their win with PAP supporters at Toa Payoh Stadium. Mr Lee thanked voters and said the results show Singaporeans know what is at stake, and are also an endorsement of the policies and the per
PM Lee Hsien Loong and his Ang Mo Kio GRC team celebrating their win with PAP supporters at Toa Payoh Stadium. Mr Lee thanked voters and said the results show Singaporeans know what is at stake, and are also an endorsement of the policies and the performance of the PAP Government.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

9.8% point rise in vote share/PAP takes back Punggol East/WP scrapes through in Aljunied GRC

The 2015 General Election ended yesterday with a landslide victory for the ruling People's Action Party (PAP), which swept 83 out of 89 seats in Parliament.

It won 69.9 per cent of the vote - its best performance since 2001 and a 9.8-point surge from the 60.1 per cent it got in 2011 when voters turned away from the PAP and handed a group representation constituency to the opposition.

"It's a good result for the PAP, but it is an excellent result for Singapore," Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said at a 3.30am press conference today after all the results were announced.

He thanked voters and said: "These election results show that Singaporeans understand what is at stake - that we can prosper only if we stay united and that we need to get the best team possible assembled in order to serve Singapore.

"The results are also an endorsement of the policies and the performance of the PAP Government."

EXCEEDED EXPECTATIONS

We are pleased with the results, I think it's exceeded our expectations and we will work very hard to meet the expectations of Singaporeans who have supported us and rightly expect us to serve them well.

PM LEE HSIEN LOONG

As results streamed in through the night, PAP candidates across Singapore kept romping home by wide margins, many winning well over 70 per cent of the vote. The best score of 79.28 per cent came from Jurong GRC, where the PAP team was led by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

PAP veteran Charles Chong, 62, scored the party's sweetest win when he took back Punggol East SMC from Ms Lee Li Lian who had won the seat for the Workers' Party in a 2013 by-election.

The WP was the largest opposition party with 28 candidates, but performed well below the expectations of political observers who had predicted "hot contests" in East Coast GRC, Marine Parade GRC, and Fengshan SMC. The PAP beat the WP comfortably in all three.

Aside from losing Punggol East, the WP retained the five-member Aljunied GRC by a whisker. Its PAP opponents proved they were no suicide squad, and called for a recount.

The Aljunied result - the last of the night - was announced at around 3am with the WP winning with just 50.95 per cent of the vote, down from 54.7 per cent in 2011.

The WP saw its vote share slip by 6.83 points, which analysts attributed to concerns over lapses in accounting and governance at Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC), which PAP leaders had surfaced recently.

This election was the most keenly contested since independence, with 181 candidates for 89 seats. The next Parliament will have six elected opposition MPs and three Non-Constituency MPs drawn from among the best-performing candidates who lost.

The PAP's exceptional showing - Mr Lee's best since becoming PM in 2004 - came four years after an opposition tide and discontent over a number of hot-button issues saw the PAP's share of the popular vote drop from 66.6 per cent in 2006 to 60.1 per cent in 2011.

Political observers said the PAP's strong performance showed that voters had noted how the Government responded to the 2011 setback by embarking on aggressive policy measures to address grievances in such areas as housing, immigration, transport and healthcare.

They also felt the PAP was helped by the feel-good factor from Singapore's Golden Jubilee celebrations. Founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew's death in March had also served to remind Singaporeans of how far Singapore had come over the past 50 years. And the PAP's narrative over the nine-day campaign - that this election was about the nation's future plans and leadership - clearly hit home.

PAP leaders, many of whom were themselves surprised at the scale of the swing, expressed humility at the big win. Mr Tharman said at Jurong West Stadium: "We are humbled by voters' trust in us and faith in our plans, and we'll work very hard to take it forward."

He pledged to do so by "continuing to listen, by being open to all ideas, by checking ourselves when we make mistakes, and correcting them as well as we can, and to be Singaporeans together".

Labour chief Chan Chun Sing led the PAP team in Tanjong Pagar GRC - not contested since it was formed in 1991 - to a 77.71 per cent win against a team from the Singaporeans First party.

Speaking at 3am, WP chief Low Thia Khiang congratulated the PAP on its strong mandate but reminded the ruling party to uphold the trust people had placed in it.

PM Lee also called on Singaporeans to unite and work together to take the country forward, adding: "The elections are over, but our work has just begun."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 12, 2015, with the headline 'PAP wins big with 69.9% of vote'. Print Edition | Subscribe