SINGAPORE - The People's Action Party was headed for a big win at the General Election, according to sample counts for all constituencies at press time on Friday (Sept 11) night.
Sample counts, made public by the Elections Department for the first time this year, indicated much stronger performances by the PAP in all 16 group representation constituencies (GRCs) and 13 single- member constituencies (SMCs).
Significantly wider margins of victory than in 2011 were indicated for the PAP in Marine Parade GRC, Holland-Bukit Timah GRC and Potong Pasir SMC, and almost everywhere across Singapore.
The Workers' Party, which put up 28 candidates this year, was headed for a poorer showing than in 2011 . It appeared on track to retain Aljunied GRC and Hougang SMC with smaller majorities. But its hold on Punggol East SMC was in the balance, with PAP veteran Charles Chong likely to unseat the WP's Lee Li Lian, who became MP in a 2013 by-election there.
The ruling party was also headed for a comfortable victory in East Coast GRC, where a close contest with the WP had been anticipated.
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All signs pointed to the PAP vote share improving significantly from 60.1 per cent in 2011.
The Straits Times will list the final results in a special edition to be delivered to subscribers and news- stands from late morning on Saturday.
At press time, no final results had been announced yet.
Minister Tan Chuan-Jin, who anchored the PAP's Marine Parade GRC team, said: "From 2011, we heard the concerns expressed by Singaporeans. They were valid. And even in this election, we heard concerns and issues which Singaporeans feel passionate about."
The PAP's Mr David Ong, expected to be one of the night's big winners in Bukit Batok SMC, said: "I'm encouraged. Years of hard ground work and connecting with the residents have paid off. This will only spur me on to serve better."
Associate Professor Davin Chor of the National University of Singapore's Department of Economics said what was clear from the sample counts was that there had been a big swing in voter sentiment back to the PAP. "The sample counts don't lie and the PAP is on course to book a vote share quite a bit higher than 60 per cent.
"This would be an extremely positive result for the ruling party - a much-needed shot in the arm, especially in the light of the very visible campaigns and outreach efforts that many of the opposition parties ran," he said.
"A lot of effort will be expended over the next few days by party strategists and pundits to understand why exactly there was this big shift back to the PAP," he added.