Thursday, November 13, 2008

The next General Election guessing game is on

I've never had the opportunity to vote. Its been walkovers in the places that I've lived. I did have the opportunity to be a counting agent but that's the closest I got. Obviously it can't compare to actually casting a vote yourself. It'll be unfair to squarely put the blame on the opposition political parties for these walkovers or their performance generally.

One cannot see the General Election in isolation but as part of a system here which makes sure the ruling party stays in power. This system includes such things as the local media infected with bias; the Courts because defamation lawsuits (and whatever else the ruling party can come up with) are used to silence (or terribly mute) current and future opposition candidates and citizens alike (not all but most); government departments & agencies and generally a system which follows the saying he who pays the piper calls the tune, a still very real climate of fear, etc, etc.

With such seemingly insurmountable obstacles, its easy to just give up and say aiyah! f***lah its always been like that and will always be like that!. It doesn't have to be so. We have to do what we can however little it may be. Here are two links to articles which provide food for thought but most importantly templates for real action: Online politicization: Singapore’s source of new activists and What will you do when the elections come?.

Meanwhile, let the guessing games begin. For those political junkies, i recommend paying a visit to Singapore Elections as a start for a good fix.
PAP calling snap elections?
Tuesday, 11 November 2008
Singapore Democrats

There are rumours floating around that the PAP may call for a snap election. A few of SDP's friends have told us that some of their civil service friends have received letters asking them to undergo training as election officials.

There are also whispers that there is heightened activity at the Elections Department. In addition, some schools have been identified as nomination and polling stations.

Of course, these are unconfirmed stories. We have not been able to verify their accuracy.

We would not be surprised, however, if the PAP junked their five-year term and go for early polls. Given the economic situation which is going to get worse – much worse – in the coming few years, the PAP may be tempted to go for elections sooner rather than later.

Of course, Mr Lee Kuan Yew's age is a major factor. Without him, PAP would be without its ballast. The octogenarian PAP-founder is still at the front, back and centre of everything the Government does, even outperforming his prime minister son.

Groundwork for GE starts
By Aaron Low
Nov 12, 2008, ST Online

THE Elections Department has started preparations for the next general election, which is due at the latest by Feb 2, 2012.

It has identified 28,000 civil servants to become election officials, and has begun sending letters out to them.

Replying to queries from the Straits Times, a spokesman for the Elections Department confirmed that it started sending out the letters last month. These letters notify the public officers of their selection as election officials and the training they will undergo.

Officials will be given one of seven roles, ranging from the highest position of returning officer, who is overall in charge of organisation at a polling station, to counting assistants who tally up votes.

Training covers election laws, the electoral and voting procedures, and the handling of voting queues and issues on Polling Day, such as voters who turn up without proper identification.

Although 28,000 public servants are being called up, the actual number deployed will depend on the number of contested constituencies.

The spokesman added that prior to 2004, election officials were called up for training only after the writ to dissolve Parliament was issued by the President.

By law, Nomination Day has to be at be least five working days after the writ is issued.

In 2004, the Elections Department decided to call up civil servants for training much earlier.

In November that year - three years after the 2001 election - it sent notices to 20,000 civil servants to call them up for training.

The General Election was held eventually in May 2006.

The Elections Department spokesman told The Straits Times yesterday that some schools have been designated as polling stations for the next election.

'Such routine activities are part of our efforts to enhance service delivery,' she added.

Asked if the plans were an indicator of an early election, the spokesman said no.

Nevertheless, the moves by the Elections Department have sparked speculation that a snap election may be on the cards.

At a dialogue with young Singaporeans two weeks ago, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in response to a question whether polls could be held ahead of the 2012 deadline, said it was possible.

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