Sunday, May 8, 2011

Why Singapore's ruling party suffered historic setback at polls

Singapore's ruling party suffered its worst-ever election result since independence in 1965 as youthful opposition parties tapped voter anger over high living costs and rising inequality in the wealthy city-state.

Unofficial results showed the opposition had garnered around 40 percent of 2 million votes cast in Saturday's election. But the first-past-the-post parliamentary system – modeled on that of Britain, the former colonial power – ensured that the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) retained firm control, with 81 out of 87 seats.

For the first time, opposition candidates contested virtually every seat in parliament. They also used social media and the Internet to provide an alternative to state-controlled newspapers. Opposition rallies attracted large boisterous crowds during the campaign period, which lasted just under two weeks.



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