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Singapore Opposition to Contest 82 of 87 Parliament Seats

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TEHRAN, April 27 (ICANA) – Singapore opposition parties will contest the most parliamentary seats since independence in 1965 in general elections next week, officials said Wednesday.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011 9:20:59 PM
Singapore Opposition to Contest 82 of 87 Parliament Seats

Candidates from six opposition parties will take on the ruling People's Action Party for 82 of 87 seats in 26 of 27 districts, the Singapore Elections Department said. The announcement marked the start of the official campaign period before the May 7 vote.

Only a slate of five PAP candidates led by former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in the Tanjong Pagar district will run unopposed. Lee's son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, faces his second election since becoming leader in 2004, AP reported.

The PAP has dominated Singapore politics for more than five decades, but opposition leaders hope to exploit voter discontent over soaring housing prices, a surge in foreign workers and rising income inequality.

The PAP first came to power in 1959 under limited self-rule as a British colony. Singapore joined a federation with Malaysia in 1963 before breaking away for full independence in 1965.

Opposition candidates contested 47 of 84 seats in the previous election in 2006 and the PAP won 82 of those seats. In some earlier elections, the PAP won a majority before the vote even took place because the opposition didn't contest most of the seats.

"Singaporeans, especially the younger ones, find the one-party dominant political system not only an anomaly, but some sort of a freakish state of affairs," said Eugene Tan, an assistant professor of law at Singapore Management University. "There's also the perception that the PAP is less responsive to the concerns of the average Singaporean."

However, analysts expect the opposition will win no more than a handful of seats and probably around 40 per cent of the overall vote, an increase from 33 per cent in the 2006 elections.

"The PAP has delivered on its promises. In short, it has performance legitimacy," Tan said. "They have remained corruption-free and raised the standard of living of Singaporeans by leaps and bounds. None of these pillars of support are really under threat."

Lee, who was prime minister from 1959 to 1990, has said this election will be his last as a candidate. Lee, 87, has represented Tanjong Pagar since 1955.

"I will look after you for the next five years," Lee told a crowd of supporters Wednesday.

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