When's the general election? 'Soon'

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong stopped short of revealing the date, but gave notice last night that the general election will be held "soon".

After 50 successful years since independence, Singapore is at a turning point as it embarks on the next 50 years of nationhood, he said.

"Soon, I will be calling for election, to ask for your mandate to take Singapore into our next phase," he told the nation in his National Day Rally speech. Speculation over the date of the election has been growing, given the many signs that it is imminent. The ruling People's Action Party has been introducing candidates in quick succession in recent days, and opposition parties have completed talks on avoiding three-cornered fights.

Describing the general election as critical, Mr Lee said: "You will be deciding who governs Singapore for the next five years but, much more than that, you will be choosing the team that will be working with you for the next 15 to 20 years.

"You will be setting the direction for Singapore's next 50 years. You will be determining the future of Singapore."

He said Singaporeans must ask themselves what the future will hold, and sketched two scenarios.

Would Singapore become an ordinary country with intractable pro-blems, with slow or negative growth, overspending that puts a heavy burden on the young, and gridlocked government unable to act? Or would it remain special, with a multiracial society streng-thened by diversity, not splintered by divisions, a rugged society where people strive to do their best yet look out for others, and Singaporeans living up to being "one people, one nation, one Singapore"?

Mr Lee said: "If you are proud of what we have achieved together and look forward to the future that we are building, please support me, please support my team."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 24, 2015, with the headline 'When's the general election? 'Soon''. Print Edition | Subscribe