Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has called General Election 2020 to “clear the decks” for a fresh mandate for the Government. In a televised address to the nation, Mr Lee said that an election now will give the new Government a fresh five-year mandate to focus on the national agenda and the difficult decisions it will have to make. “The alternative is to wait out the COVID-19 pandemic. But we have no assurance that the pandemic will be over before this Government’s term must end next April,” he said.
In a statement after Mr Lee’s speech, the Prime Minister’s Office said President Halimah Yacob has dissolved Parliament, and that Nomination Day will be on June 30. Polling Day will be on July 10, a Friday.
Before deciding to proceed with the election, Mr Lee said he had to be certain of two things – that voters can vote safely, and political parties can campaign effectively. “I am satisfied that both of these can be done,” he said.
The Elections Department (ELD) has issued measures on ensuring people can vote safely amid the COVID-19 outbreak. The measures include dedicated time-bands for seniors to vote, setting up more polling stations and having voters wear gloves before entering polling booths. No physical rallies will be allowed. Instead, constituency political broadcasts will be aired on Mediacorp’s Channel 5 with each candidate given three minutes of airtime. These are on top of two party political broadcasts which will be aired on 19 TV and radio channels. Political parties doing walkabouts and door-to-door campaigning have to cap their groups at five people, and they should also take other precautions advised by the health authorities such as wearing masks and avoiding physical contact, said ELD.