SINGAPORE - A general election has been called and Polling Day will be on Friday, Sept 11. Nomination Day is on Tuesday, Sept 1.
The date of the long-anticipated general election was finally revealed with the Writ of Election issued by President Tony Tan Keng Yam at 4pm on Tuesday (Aug 25), an hour after he dissolved Parliament.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on his Facebook page: "I called this general election to seek your mandate to take Singapore beyond SG50, into its next half century. You will be deciding who will govern Singapore for the next 5 years. More than that, you will be choosing the team to work with you for the next 15-20 years, and setting the direction for Singapore for the next 50 years."
Cooling-off Day, which was introduced at the 2011 General Election, is on Sept 10. This is the 24-hour period when all political parties are prohibited by law from campaigning, so as to allow voters to reflect on the issues raised.
Veteran civil servant Ng Wai Choong is the Returning Officer, having taken over the post from Mr Yam Ah Mee in April 2013.
The dissolution of Parliament, which last sat on Aug 17, comes a month after the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee released its report on July 24.
An estimated 2.46 million eligible voters - up from 2.35 million in 2011 - will head to the polls.
PM Lee, who will be leading the People's Action Party (PAP) into battle for the third time as Prime Minister, had set the scene for the general election when he hinted at it towards the end of his National Day Rally speech last Sunday (Aug 23).
The ruling PAP is in the midst of announcing its slate of candidates for the 16 Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs) and 13 Single-Member Constituencies (SMCS) being contested.
Its line-up for 12 GRCs and 11 SMCs has been revealed so far.
Three of the SMCs are new: Bukit Batok, Fengshan and MacPherson. There will be two new GRCs: Jalan Besar and Marsiling-Yew Tee.
Fourteen MPs have announced their retirement, with the PAP introducing 11 new faces - including former Chief of Defence Ng Chee Meng, who will be fielded in Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC - so far.
The number of elected MPs will increase from the current 87 to 89.
The last general election was held on May 7, 2011. The PAP won 81 of the 87 seats contested with a total vote share of 60.1 per cent. The Workers' Party (WP) took Aljunied GRC and Hougang SMC with 54.7 per cent and 64.8 per cent respectively. In a by-election on Jan 26, 2013, it won Punggol East SMC after PAP incumbent Michael Palmer resigned.
The WP earlier announced that its existing seven MPs will be defending their seats. It also revealed on July 26 that it would be fielding 28 candidates in five GRCs and five SMCs.
The other eight opposition parties that have stated their intention to contest in the general election concluded talks in early August, during which they ironed out their differences and worked to ensure that the PAP will be challenged in all 29 constituencies.
Thus far, only MacPherson SMC - both the WP and National Solidarity Party (NSP) have staked their claims - and Potong Pasir SMC appear to be heading for three-cornered fights. Independent candidate Tan Lam Siong, the former NSP secretary-general, wants to run in Potong Pasir against the PAP and Singapore People's Party.
PM Lee added during Sunday's Rally that Singapore was at a turning point and that the coming election was critical.
"You will be deciding who's governing Singapore for the next five years; but much more than that, you will be choosing the team who will be working with you for the next 15-20 years. You will be setting the direction for Singapore for the next 50 years," he said.
"If you are proud of what we have achieved together, if you support... the future that we are building, then please support me, please support my team, because my team and I cannot do anything just by ourselves.
"We have to do it with you in order to do it for you... so that we can keep Singapore special for many years to come, another 50 years."