The chapter on GE2006 reaches a likely closer with elaborate thank-you parades by the ruling party and celebratory receptions by self-serving grassroots leaders.
Singaporean voters turn back to focus on jobs, healthcare and living costs. In its concluding editorial on the 11th Singapore general elections, Think Centre (TC) reviews the last 9 days of campaign fervent, fever and fallout, and reflects on the Opposition's peformance.
With the 66.6% mandate entrusted to the ruling party, Singaporeans now look to this government-elect who promised more opportunities to move everyone ahead as an inclusivist society and vibrant nation.
What of the Opposition? Should they be satisfied with their relatively improved results? What lies beyond?
This time round, credit to the Opposition for fielding a quality slate of candidates comparable to the ruling party. Good men and women with professional careers, educated backgrounds, grassroots experience and youthful vigour stepped up to carry the Opposition flag.
Second, kudos to the Opposition for dropping the by-election strategy and denying the ruling party's return to government on Nomination Day. By contesting 47 seats, the Opposition gave most Singaporeans of all ages, a political choice and opportunity to vote.
Third, cheers for the Opposition in flagging the upgrading issue and entrapping the ruling party with this. The belligerence of the ruling party in dangling the all-or-nothing upgrading carrot backfired and turned off a considerable number of voters.
Given also that the ruling party played its 'hitman' card of fixing (pun) Opposition personalities with legal or police action. Mostly since 1984, each GE had its fair share of certain Opposition candidates persecuted by the ruling party. In 2006, the Gomez affair surprisingly swung a portion of electorate the other way instead.
On a final note, GE2006 was indeed a watershed for the Opposition. With an improved national percentage around 33%, this result was second best to GE1991. The Opposition clearly won over the media (evident from the surprisingly objective reporting) and impressed the electorate (especially in Aljunied and Ang Mo Kio) enough.
Looking ahead, the Opposition needs to ride on post-GE2006 feel-good momentum, resume working the ground and recruit more talents to its ranks. Save for induced disintegration of the Singapore Democratic Party and ensuing Gomez saga, there lies renewal, invigoration and hope for our Opposition.
What can you do as an ordinary apolitical voter? Give them a second chance, because you deserve a choice in a genuinely inclusivist and vibrant political society.
Majulah PAP, Majulah Opposition, Majulah Singapura!
Sources and Relevant Links:
Think Centre Post-GE2006 - Don't leave some behind 7 May 2006
Think Centre General Elections 2006 28 April 2006 And so after having waited with abated breath, General Elections (GE)2006 finally kicked off yesterday.The ruling party had walkovers in 37 out of 84 constituencies. The PAP was denied, for the first times since 1988, its return to power on nomination day,Thursday, 27 April 2006
Think Centre Editorial GE 200621 April 2006 In its continuing GE 2006 editorial series, Think Centre (TC) looks at another determinant that may boost or capitulate the Opposition's electoral chances - the media.
Think Centre General Elections (GE) 2006 15 April 2006 As part of its coverage of General Elections (GE) 2006, Think Centre moves into gear with week-by-week editorials on potential issues that matter to the Opposition
Think Centre Is the national election free and fair in Singapore?