SINGAPORE: With the Jul 10 General Election approaching, political parties have started to stake their claims on the 93 seats up for contest this year, with some indicating who they plan to field in specific constituencies.
A key stage in the process is Nomination Day - which will see possible candidates submitting their nomination papers in the hope of becoming confirmed candidates.
The action will take place on Tuesday (Jun 30) at nine nomination centres, with the list of confirmed candidates set to come at around lunchtime.
Here are five constituencies to keep an eye on:
The Workers’ Party (WP) saw a historic win in the five-member Aljunied Group Representation Constituency (GRC) in the 2011 General Election.
The same WP team - Mr Pritam Singh, Ms Sylvia Lim, Mr Low Thia Khiang, Mr Chen Show Mao and Mr Faisal Manap - retained their seats in the 2015 General Election but with a smaller margin, winning 50.95 per cent of the vote.
With the WP and the People's Action Party (PAP) set to go head to head again in Aljunied this year, the contest will be one to watch.
The WP’s team, made up of Mr Singh, Ms Lim, Mr Faisal and former Non-Constituency Members of Parliament Mr Leon Perera and Mr Gerald Giam will go up against the PAP, with Mr Low and Mr Chen vacating their seats for younger members of the party.
The PAP has yet to officially announce its Aljunied line-up. According to the constituency’s website, the ruling party’s team will include three familiar faces who contested the five-member GRC in the 2015 General Election - Mr Shamsul Kamar, Mr Victor Lye and Mr Chua Eng Leong.
Two new faces - lawyer Alex Yeo and marketing director Chan Hui Yuh - will join them.
EAST COAST GRC
The WP contested East Coast GRC in the past three General Elections, and is set to do so again this year. Former Minister for Manpower Lim Swee Say and former three-term MP Lee Yi Shyan are likely to step down, setting a fresh PAP team up for a fierce battle with WP.
East Coast is seen as a traditional battleground between the PAP and the WP, which usually fields a strong team there.
With Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean floated as a possible replacement for Mr Lim, experts predict that the PAP will also send a strong team to East Coast. Party insiders say the names of candidates are being kept tightly under wraps.
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat has also been seen walking the ground in East Coast, and experts have said he could helm the GRC with a completely new team.
In 2015, PAP’s East Coast team - Mr Lim, Mr Lee, Senior Minister of State Maliki Osman and Ms Jessica Tan - held on to their seats with 60.73 per cent of the vote, but the WP’s East Coast representatives were among the party’s best losers.
Mr Singh announced on Thursday that WP would contest the five-member GRC, but has not shared which candidates will be fielded there. His announcement that Ms Lim and himself will stand in Aljunied GRC shut down rumours that WP would be sending one of them to stand in East Coast.
All eyes are on who will lead WP’s East Coast team this year and the party will probably reveal this only on Nomination Day. Prominent familiar face Nicole Seah was introduced as a WP candidate on Thursday and she has been seen walking the ground in the constituency.
WEST COAST GRC
With former presidential candidate hopeful Dr Tan Cheng Bock set to lead the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) in the West Coast GRC, the PAP stronghold may see a fierce fight.
Dr Tan was MP for Ayer Rajah for 26 years when he was with the PAP. The ward is now part of West Coast GRC.
He believes that his strong roots in the area, from his time serving as an MP and a medical doctor, will help PSP gain an advantage in the contest. Dr Tan also contested in the Presidential Election in 2011, where he lost marginally to Dr Tony Tan.
READ: GE2020: PAP faces tough test from Tan Cheng Bock’s PSP in battle for West Coast GRC, say analysts
READ: GE2020: PSP announces line-ups to contest in 4 GRCs, 5 SMCs; Tan Cheng Bock set to lead team in West Coast GRC
PSP announced on Friday morning that it will field assistant secretary-general Leong Mun Wai, Ms Hazel Poa, Mr Nadarajah Loganathan and Mr Jeffrey Khoo alongside Dr Tan in West Coast.
But with Mr Lee Hsien Yang, the brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, joining the PSP, there has been speculation that the younger Mr Lee could be deployed either in West Coast or other constituencies as a surprise candidate on the morning of Nomination Day.
West Coast GRC has traditionally been a PAP stronghold since it was formed in 1997. When Singapore went to the polls in 2015, PAP won 78.57 per cent of the vote against the Reform Party (RP).
The four-member PAP team, which comprised of Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran, Mr Lim Hng Kiang, Ms Foo Mee Har and Mr Patrick Tay, was among the best performing PAP teams in the 2015 General Election.
POTONG PASIR SMC
In Potong Pasir, Singapore People’s Party (SPP) chairman Jose Raymond will try to wrest the single-seat back from the incumbent PAP.
This will be Mr Raymond’s first General Election, and it remains to be seen if Potong Pasir residents who are loyal to Mr Chiam See Tong will support him.
Mr Chiam represented Potong Pasir from 1984 to 2011 under different party colours - making him one of Singapore’s longest-serving opposition MPs. Mr Raymond succeeded Mrs Lina Chiam as SPP chairman in November last year.
PAP incumbent Sitoh Yih Pin is likely to put up a fight, having represented Potong Pasir since the 2011 General Election, when he edged out Mrs Chiam by just 114 votes. He won again in 2015, this time with a larger margin.
BUKIT BATOK SMC
The Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) Dr Chee Soon Juan will contest the single-seat in Bukit Batok.
He stood against PAP incumbent Murali Pillai during the 2016 by-election, and garnered 38.8 per cent of the vote.
The two are likely to go up against each other again this year.
READ: GE2020: Many people concerned about what will happen if they are retrenched, says SDP’s Chee Soon Juan
Dr Chee has a long history as an opposition candidate. He started his political career in the SDP in 1992, under then secretary-general Mr Chiam.
He was not eligible to contest in the 2011 General Election due to an undischarged bankruptcy and was formally discharged from bankruptcy in November 2012.
In 2015, Dr Chee led SDP’s Holland-Bukit Timah team to the polls but was unsuccessful in swaying voters, garnering just 33.4 per cent of the vote.