On July 11, the Singaporeans awoke to a new reality. The turning points of the 2020 general election had come and gone, and major changes appear to have taken place in Parliament.
With 83 out of 93 seats, the People & # 39; s Action Party (PAP) – also Singapore's government since independence in 1965 – was able to achieve the "strong mandate" it demanded.
Credit: Vulcan Post
Although they managed to keep their majority in parliament, the PAP lost considerable political ground.
The incumbent party handed over two group representative groups (GRCs) – Aljunied and Sengkang – and the constituency Hougang Single Member Constituency (SMC) to the Labor Party (WP).
The 61.24 percent of the party's votes were also the second lowest percentage since independence.
We have a clear mandate, but the percentage of the population's vote is not as high as I hoped it would be.
– PAP General Secretary Lee Hsien Loong.
It is clear that Singaporean voters are trying to send a strong message to the government and the nation – what is it and what can we get out of the GE 2020 results?
Singaporeans (not just WP supporters) want change
This year, with the exception of the MacPherson and Mountbatten SMCs, the PAP had a reduction in votes in all constituencies for which it stood (with the exception of the new ones).
How did it happen? The opposition had stacked the odds against them.
Due to the flight into the security mentality, elections in times of crisis tend to correlate with an election campaign in favor of the PAP. In the GE 2001, the PAP won a remarkable 75 percent of the vote when voters opted for stability.
In addition, physical rallies, which opposition parties generally rely heavily on to reach voters, have been rejected due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Comparison of the results of GE 2015 and GE 2020 / Photo credit: Vulcan Post
According to Eugene Tan, a law professor and former independent MP, most Singaporeans believe in checks and balances.
This is exactly what the opposition parties used in this election to gather the Singaporeans. The campaign slogan of the WP was, for example, "Make Your Vote Count", and the rejection of the PAP as a "blank check" was a point that reappeared in many speeches.
In addition, these points are supplemented by the offer of the electorate to reject the "gutter policy".
In addition to WP, arguably the strongest opposition party in Singapore, other parties made significant progress in many districts during GE 2020.
The Progress Singapore Party (PSP) narrowly lost the GRC on the west coast with around 48 percent of the vote.
In addition, the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) performed best since the 1990s. His secretary general, Chee Soon Juan, won 45.2 percent against S. Murali from PAP in Bukit Batok, while SDP chairman Paul Tambyah received 46.26 percent of the vote in Bukit Panjang
This suggests a strong possibility that Singaporeans across the island are ready to accept alternative votes in parliament and include a variety of different parties in parliament.
Personality Policy: The Jamus Effect?
WP candidate Jamus Lim / Photo credit: Mother ship
The personality of politicians could be a key factor in determining voters' votes.
Although the PAP's vote share declined significantly in almost all districts, some opposition teams did better than others.
Remarkably, Sengkang GRC was won over by the young team of four from WP. Except for He Ting Ru, who previously ran at GE 2015, all members were new faces.
However, the presence of Harvard-trained Jamus Lim on the team could have been a strong selling point for Sengkang voters.
The WP candidate stood out in this year's elections. He appeared as an emerging star during a political debate on television in which he captured the hearts and minds of Singaporeans.
Other high-performing candidates like Chee Soon Juan from SDP or Tan Cheng Bock from PSP had already managed to build their personal brand name through years of political activity.
Social media is also important in politics
Photo credit: Workers & # 39; Party on Instagram
This year, many young millennials and even Generation Z members cast their votes for the first time. People in these age groups tend to be enthusiastic social media users and spend more time on social media than traditional media.
Most opposition parties used social media and networking sites to reach young voters.
80-year-old PSP boss Tan Cheng Bock became an internet sensation when he tried to include millennial and Gen Z jargon like "Hypebeast" and "Woke" in his social media posts.
Photo credit: Tan Cheng Bock via Instagram
According to Tan, this was a way for him to reach and connect with the younger voters.
Do you know how much time I spent learning all these new words, my friend? I deserve my votes, I never expect them.
– PSP boss Tan Cheng Bock on TodayOnline
The WP has also launched an impressive online campaign that has been praised by many Internet users. The party's introductory video spread like wildfire on the Internet and generated more than 15,000 likes on Facebook.
Become a post-materialist society
A materialistic society deals with material needs, bread-and-butter issues, physical and economic security.
In contrast, post-materialists strive for self-fulfillment and values like liberalism.
The e-rallies of WP's Sengkang candidates highlighted issues such as social inequality and climate change. This seemed to appeal to the younger voters.
According to the sociologist Tan Ern Ser from the National University of Singapore, Singaporeans could adopt values of "higher order, post-materialistic".
This year's unique elections have laid the foundation for opposition parties to gain a foothold in their various districts.
Although it remains to be seen whether the rejuvenation of the opposition parties has created a new beginning for Singapore, the years before the next elections will be some interesting ones.
Selected image source: EPA-EFE / Roslan Rahman on AFP