SINGAPORE: President Halimah Yacob dissolved Parliament on Tuesday (Jun 23) on the advice of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said.
"The Prime Minister also advised that Nomination Day be on Tuesday, Jun 30, 2020, and the President has agreed," the PMO statement said.
In a separate press release, the Elections Department (ELD) said the President has issued the Writ of Election for General Election 2020, with Polling Day on Jul 10. It will also be a public holiday.
Mr Lee said on Tuesday that he has advised Mdm Halimah to dissolve Parliament and issue the Writ of Election.
An election now will “clear the decks” and give the new Government a fresh five-year mandate to focus on the national agenda and the difficult decisions it will have to make, said Mr Lee in a televised address to the nation.
“The alternative is to wait out the COVID-19 pandemic. But we have no assurance that the pandemic will be over before this Government’s term must end next April,” he said.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
On Jun 30, prospective candidates must submit their nomination papers to the Returning Officer, together with their proposers, seconders and at least four assentors.
This year's Returning Officer is Mr Tan Meng Dui, chief executive officer of the National Environment Agency.
Nomination Day proceedings will be covered by national broadcaster Mediacorp on its TV and online channels. Only candidates, their proposers, seconders, assentors and accredited media can enter nomination centres, and party supporters will not be allowed to linger nearby, said the ELD last week.
Campaigning can start once the notice of contested election is issued, and there will be a Cooling Off Day before Polling Day on Jul 10.
No physical rallies during campaigning will be allowed. Instead, constituency political broadcasts will be aired on Mediacorp’s Channel 5 with each candidate given three minutes of airtime. These are on top of two party political broadcasts which will be aired on 19 TV and radio channels.
Political parties doing walkabouts and door-to-door campaigning have to cap their groups at five people, and they should also take other precautions advised by the health authorities such as wearing masks and avoiding physical contact, said ELD.
SAFETY ON POLLING DAY
Mr Lee said on Tuesday that he is satisfied that voters can vote safely, and that political parties will be able to campaign effectively.
Earlier this month, the ELD issued measures on ensuring people can vote safely amid the COVID-19 outbreak. The measures include dedicated time-bands for seniors to vote, setting up more polling stations and having voters wear gloves before entering polling booths.
There will be 1,100 polling stations, up from 880, with the number of voters expected at each station to be reduced from an average of 3,000 to 2,400 people.
Responding to CNA's queries, ELD said that the number of public officers deployed during this election will increase by 20 per cent. Around 30,000 officers were deployed during the 2015 election.