SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday (Jul 11) congratulated the Workers' Party for what he called a "strong performance", just hours after WP claimed two Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs) at the polls - the first time an opposition party has done so.
The WP team of Dr Jamus Lim, Ms Raeesah Khan, Ms He Ting Ru and Mr Louis Chua edged out the People's Action Party team with 52.13 per cent of the votes, and emerged victorious in the newly formed Sengkang GRC.
"I congratulate the Workers' Party for their strong performance," Mr Lee wrote in a Facebook post. "I look forward to them participating in and contributing to the debate in Parliament, and to the national debate, as we deal with the urgent issues before us."
In the post-results press conference in the early hours of Saturday morning, Mr Lee also said WP secretary-general Pritam Singh would be "formally designated” as the Leader of the Opposition - a position that would come with “appropriate staff support and resources to perform (the Leader's) duties”.
After the results were announced, Mr Singh had said he was "very grateful" but also "very humbled". "I'm not feeling euphoric at all. In fact, I think there's a lot of work to do and I think we've got to work hard," he said.
Mr Lee, who is PAP's secretary-general, said that overall, he was satisfied with the election outcome.
PAP won 83 out of 93 seats in Parliament and 61.2 per cent of the popular vote - a vote share PM Lee had described as "respectable", though not as high as he had hoped for.
"We have a clear mandate and the results show broad-based support for the People's Action Party. I will use this mandate responsibly to deal with COVID-19 and the economic downturn, and to take us safely through the crisis, and beyond," he said.
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"At the same time, the results reflect the pain and uncertainty that Singaporeans feel in this crisis.
"This was not a feel-good election, but one where people are facing real problems, and expect more rough weather to come. There were also real concerns raised during the campaign that we must address," Mr Lee also said in his Facebook post, reiterating part of his press conference speech.
"The work of the new Government begins today," said Mr Lee. "My Government will work with all Singaporeans to overcome our challenges and emerge stronger. With this election behind us, let us now work as one Singapore, to secure Our Lives, Our Jobs, Our Future."