Opposition leaders call for 'balance' in Parliament

Opposition leaders have begun making their pitch to voters, urging them to support their parties to ensure that the next Parliament is a more "balanced" one.

Workers' Party (WP) chief Pritam Singh said yesterday that the balance in Parliament remains a key issue at the election, even as Singapore confronts the Covid-19 crisis.

He added that the People's Action Party's call for a mandate to deal with the uncertainty did not lessen the need to elect a credible opposition for checks and balances on the ruling party.

Speaking at his party's candidate introduction press conference, he noted that the PAP will have a strong mandate even if the WP wins all the 21 seats it is contesting.

"The PAP is going to contest in 93 seats, the Workers' Party is contesting in 21 seats, and that leaves us potentially 72 seats in PAP's hands. I'm not sure whether that equates to a weak mandate. I think that's still a strong mandate for the PAP," he said.

"So what I believe Singaporeans should also consider is, as all of us collectively fight Covid-19, what about the balance in Parliament?"

The issue of the balance in Parliament has also featured in the campaigns of other opposition parties, with some urging voters to deny the PAP the two-thirds majority in Parliament needed to amend the Constitution.

With two days to go to Nomination Day, the opposition field has narrowed further, with the Democratic Progressive Party announcing that it would sit out the polls.

With the dissolution of the Singaporeans First party last week, there now remain 10 opposition parties that are set to contest the general election.

Two veteran opposition leaders announced plans to step back after the election if they are not successful. Singapore Democratic Alliance president Desmond Lim, 53, intends to hand over the reins of his party, while People's Power Party chief Goh Meng Seng, 50, said this would be his last election.

Yesterday was a busy day with several parties conducting walkabouts across Singapore.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 28, 2020, with the headline Opposition leaders call for 'balance' in Parliament. Subscribe