Singaporean

S'pore General Election Likely To Take Place In July If COVID-19 Situation Improves

The next General Election (GE) is likely to take place in July, coinciding with the transition from first phase to second phase of the reopening of Singapore’s economy.

Phase one starts on June 2, and will likely last until July 2.

Phase two, which will see most social activities resume and all students returning to schools, is therefore expected to begin earliest on July 2.

Moreover, phase two could also happen slightly earlier before the end of June, if the infection numbers remain low and stable particularly in the first two weeks of June.

When phase two comes, this means that political campaigning and polling will be allowed.

GE Could Take Place In Mid-July

Parliament could be dissolved right after its next sitting on June 4. Members of Parliament are slated to debate the fourth Fortitude Budget on June 4.

After which, it could take about two weeks to get to Nomination Day, and a week or two for campaigning.

This means Polling Day could happen in mid-July.

End-July Is Possible Too

The Ministry of Education had moved the June school holidays forward to May 5, and added a one-week mid-term break from July 20 to 26.

This indicates that there is a likelihood that the election may occur during the school break in the second last week of July since most school facilities are available to be used as polling stations.

Can It Be Earlier Than July?

As Singapore is only slowly easing out of the circuit breaker period on June 2, it is unlikely that the GE would be happening in the same month.

This is because authorities would have to monitor the rate of infection and deem whether it is safe to hold the GE in the same month.

For example, they may need to observe a consistent pattern of single-digit or zero infections within the community before they can justify holding an earlier election.

Another Outbreak Could Push It Back Further

We need to brace ourselves for the possibility of a new outbreak or increase in infected numbers as that may push back the election. For example, the emergence of a large Covid-19 cluster in June.

This could push phase two back to mid-July.

As a result, the GE may be held in August or September.

Holding the GE after National Day in August could be an opportunity for the ruling party to consolidate the country’s achievements — through a platform such as the National Day Rally.

Any later, the likelihood of the GE happening is lower.

The United States presidential election will be held in November 2020, so if the GE in Singapore happens any later than September, that may coincide with that major event, leading to run-ins with uncertainty on the global front.

Must Be Held By April 14, 2021

According to the law, the GE must be held before April 14 next year, which means that Parliament will have to be dissolved latest by January.

Under election rules, the GE must be held within three months after the dissolution of Parliament.

It is very likely that it will happen earliest July since due to Covid-19, plans for GE has been pushed back when it was initially expected to happen in April or May.

Featured Image Credit: Reuters

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