Dr Chee Soon Juan strenuously denied that the Singapore Democratic Party is not serious about contesting in Punggol East and that it is simply posturing for concessions from the Workers' Party in the next General Election.
The SDP chief told The Straits Times that the party is still keen to meet with the WP which has thus far not accepted three requests to meet and that "everything is on the table".
"We're not doing all this just for fun you know. We have set our hearts. But as I said there is a difference between being determined and being unreasonable. We want to be reasonable," he said.
"Everything is on the table. We don't go in with conditions but we are going to try and persuade WP that we have the best candidate to defeat the PAP."
The party is willing to wait till up to nomination day on Jan 16 to meet.
"We have to sit and talk or else nothing moves," he said.
Dr Chee, the secretary-general of the party, repeated that the SDP has a strong case for running even though it did not contest the ward in the last GE in 2011.
"We've got policies - these are not just pieces of paper, they are workable and viable... We've also got solid candidates as you have been speculating. And our party machinery is all geared up and the work is already ongoing. Aren't these good enough reasons to at least offer residents at Punggol East this option?"
Asked again whether SDP is prepared to contest, he said: "There is no question about it. Safely put it out of your minds that we are doing this to extract concessions... The wayang would be quite elaborate."
The announcement on who will be the SDP's candidate is "imminent" and could be as early as Saturday.
The choice is believed to be among Dr Paul Tambyah, Dr Ang Yong Guan and Dr Vincent Wijeysingha.