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Singapore GE2020: Time to move on from 10m population dispute says SDP, accuses PAP of 'desperation'

SINGAPORE – Singapore Democratic Party leaders Paul Tambyah and Chee Soon Juan said it was time for the election campaign to move on from the 10 million population dispute – but not before accusing the PAP of “desperation” and asserting again that their party had come out on top.

Party chairman Paul Tambyah, speaking on Saturday (July 4) during a walkabout in Bukit Panjang, which he is contesting, also praised his election rival, the People’s Action Party’s Liang Eng Hwa, for declining to comment on the population saga when asked by reporters.

“That is exactly the way it should be. This is what we want this campaign to be fought on. We don’t want it to be fought on personal attacks, on events which occurred one year ago… We want to talk about the issues,” he said.

“We want to have a fair campaign, have people look at the different visions for how we want to see Singapore in a post-Covid era.”

Prof Tambyah’s call to move on came after he reiterated that the SDP extracted a promise from the Government that it was not aiming for a 10 million population target for Singapore.

The PAP and its leaders have repeatedly said there have never been such plans, and accused the SDP and Dr Chee, its secretary general, of attempting to mislead Singaporeans.

On Saturday, Dr Chee said the PAP was “beating a dead horse” by having continued to raise the issue. He told reporters at a coffee shop in Bukit Batok after a walkabout: “We said what we wanted to say. Job done, mission accomplished.

“Now we are asking voters to get us into Parliament to make sure that the PAP, what it says before the election, it continues to hold on to it after the election.”

One of the SDP’s key planks in the election was a call to voters to say “no” to what the party said was the PAP’s plan to increase Singapore’s population to 10 million.

The SDP maintains that the 10 million figure was from a Straits Times report on remarks by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat at a dialogue with Nanyang Technological University students in March last year.

The March 29, 2019 article on the dialogue, which included a question on population density, reported that Mr Heng said Singapore’s population density is not excessive, and noted that other cities are a lot more crowded in terms of liveable space.

The article also said Mr Heng cited former chief planner Liu Thai Ker, who said in 2014 that Singapore should plan for 10 million people for it to remain sustainable in the long term.

Mr Heng had cited Mr Liu in his response to a question on the Government’s 2013 Population White Paper. However, he had stressed that the number goes beyond how densely populated Singapore would be. The social space is as important, he said, adding that openness and understanding is important.

But Mr Heng did not say Singapore should plan for 10 million people – nor did he mention the figure.

Dr Chee cited the report in a televised debate on Wednesday night, claiming that Mr Heng had toyed with the idea of raising the population to 10 million – a charge refuted several times by Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan of the PAP, who also took part in the debate.

Dr Balakrishnan told Dr Chee at the debate that the 10 million figure was a “strawman” and a “falsehood”, adding: “Let me state for the record: We will never have 10 million. We won’t even have 6.9 million. The Government doesn’t have a target for the population.

“What we want is a Singapore core that is demographically stable, able to reproduce ourselves, able to create opportunities and jobs for ourselves and able to stay as a cohesive whole. It is not a target, and it’s certainly not 10 million.”

On Friday, the PAP released a statement, saying it was “disappointed that Dr Chee and the SDP have dug their heels in, repeated their falsehoods and refused to apologise to Singaporeans for misleading them”.

In that same statement, the party also criticised Prof Tambyah, saying: “We are disappointed and surprised Dr Paul Tambyah, the SDP’s chairman, has joined his chief in this charade. We thought he was a better man.”

On Saturday, Prof Tambyah described the PAP’s comments as being “a sign of desperation”, and said it showed that the ruling party had “run out of ideas”.

“So, they’ve resorted to the old PAP tactics of just politics of personal destruction.”

Singapore GE2020: Get full election coverage on our dedicated site here.

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Politics

Hickenlooper wins Democratic primary for key U.S. Senate seat in Colorado

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper shrugged off a series of campaign stumbles to win the state’s Democratic U.S. Senate nomination on Tuesday, beating a progressive challenger in a race vital to the party’s hopes of regaining Senate control in November.

Hickenlooper’s victory sets up a high-profile Nov. 3 showdown with conservative Republican U.S. Senator Cory Gardner, considered one of the country’s most vulnerable incumbents and a top target for Democrats.

With more than three-quarters of precincts reporting, Hickenlooper led by nearly 20 percentage points over Andrew Romanoff, a former Colorado House speaker who had touted progressive priorities such as Medicare for All that were opposed by the more moderate Hickenlooper.

After his win, Hickenlooper made it clear in a video address to supporters that he would tie Gardner, who has been closely aligned with Republican President Donald Trump, directly to what he said were Trump’s failed policies.

“I’ve never lost an election in this state and I don’t intend to lose this one,” Hickenlooper said.

Colorado was one of three states, along with Utah and Oklahoma, to hold nominating contests on Tuesday. Colorado and Utah primarily vote by mail, minimizing the problems with in-person voting that marred other elections during the coronavirus outbreak.

Hickenlooper, recruited to run by national Democrats after his failed presidential campaign last year, had been expected to coast to victory in Colorado but he was beset down the stretch by ethical violations and campaign gaffes, raising some doubts.

He acknowledged he misspoke in late May when he said during a discussion of the “Black Lives Matter” movement that every life matters – a phrase criticized for dismissing racism against Black people. He also apologized after a six-year-old quip surfaced in which he compared a politician’s schedule to working on a slave ship.

Hickenlooper was fined $2,750 by the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission on June 12 for violating state ethics laws by accepting free travel when he was governor. He initially defied a subpoena from the panel, testifying only after he was found in contempt.

Republicans said Hickenlooper’s late stumbles showed he would be vulnerable against Gardner.

“If watching him fall apart under pressure these last few weeks is any indication, ‘hot mess’ Hickenlooper is in for a very bumpy ride,” said Joanna Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Democrats also learned the winner on Tuesday in the race for the U.S. Senate nomination in Kentucky, where the results were delayed a week by the counting of mailed ballots. Establishment-backed Amy McGrath held off a late surge by Black state lawmaker Charles Booker for the right to challenge Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.

In Colorado, U.S. Representative Scott Tipton, who had been endorsed by Trump, was upset in a Republican primary by gun rights activist Lauren Boebert. She runs a gun-themed restaurant and has spoken favorably about the pro-Trump conspiracy theory QAnon, which says “deep-state” traitors are plotting against the president.

Republicans were choosing challengers to run against U.S. Representatives Kendra Horn of Oklahoma and Ben McAdams of Utah, two endangered Democrats who represent districts that Trump carried in 2016.

In Oklahoma, the winner will be determined in an Aug. 25 runoff as no candidate managed 50% of the vote. In Utah, former National Football League player Burgess Owens won the Republican primary to take on McAdams.

A ballot measure in Oklahoma to expand Medicaid, the government healthcare program for the poor and disabled, appeared to narrowly win despite the Republican governor’s arguments the state cannot afford it. With all precincts reporting, the expansion led by about 1 percentage point.

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Putin urges Russians to vote for changes that could extend his rule

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Vladimir Putin made a last-ditch appeal to Russians on Tuesday to vote for constitutional changes that would allow him to run again for president twice, potentially extending his rule until 2036.

Putin spoke at the scene of a series of bloody World War Two battles on the eve of the main and last day of a seven-day nationwide vote that would change the constitution for the first time since 1993, a move critics have likened to a legal coup.

“We are not just voting for amendments. We are voting for the country in which we want to live …for a country for whose sake we are working and want to pass onto our children,” said Putin in front of a monument of a Red Army soldier he had just unveiled on a hill in the town of Rzhev in western Russia.

Putin made no mention of how the changes could affect his own career. That is consistent with the official get-out-the-vote campaign which has stressed other amendments instead.

State exit polls suggest the changes will be backed by over two thirds of voters, allowing the 67-year-old former KGB officer – if he wishes – to run for another two six-year, back-to-back stints after his current term expires in 2024.

He has already led Russia for more than two decades.

At 60%, according to the Levada pollster, his approval rating remains high but well down on its peak of nearly 90%.

Putin has said he has yet to take a final decision on his future, though critics are convinced he will run again. However, some analysts believe he has yet to decide, and wants to keep his options open so as not to become a lame duck.

“WORLD CLASS LEADER”

Ramzan Kadyrov, the Kremlin-backed head of Chechnya, a mainly Muslim republic in Russia’s Caucasus region, told aides that Putin should be made president for life.

“Right now who can replace him?” said Kadyrov. “There’s no such world class leader and we should be proud of that.”

With Russia still reporting thousands of new COVID-19 cases every day, opponents have been unable to stage protests but they have mocked the vote online, saying it is a farce whose outcome has already been decided by the authorities.

Putin has said he wants a clean vote, something election officials have pledged to deliver.

Critics have shared photographs of makeshift polling stations set up in apartment stairwells, courtyards and in the boot of a parked car.

“We’ll fall ill and die – but we’ll deliver the votes for Putin,” joked allies of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, posting a video of a vote being held in a stairwell in Siberia near a flat where a coronavirus case had been registered.

The Communist Party, which has advised supporters to vote “no” to the changes, complained of irregularities at two Moscow polling stations, where it said the number of registered home voters was 10 times higher than normal.

In one video shared on social media on Tuesday, two policemen were seen wrestling to the ground a journalist observing a polling station in St Petersburg. He screamed out in pain after his arm was pinned behind his back.

Golos, a non-governmental organisation that monitors elections, said it was already clear it would not be able to confirm the vote’s outcome as legitimate.

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Duda to face Warsaw mayor in Poland's presidential runoff vote

Incumbent president secures 43.7 percent of votes while runner-up Trzaskowski has 30.3 percent, official results show.

Conservative incumbent Andrzej Duda has secured the top position in Poland’s presidential election and will face Warsaw’s liberal mayor in the runoff next month, according to official results.

Duda, who is backed by the governing Law and Justice (PiS) party, won 43.7 percent of the ballot with more than 99 percent of polling stations counted, the national election commission said on Monday.

Runner-up Rafal Trzaskowski had 30.3 percent, taking the Civic Platform (PO) party member into round two of the election on July 12.

Independent candidate Rafal Holownia came in third with 13.9 percent. None of the other eight candidates topped 10 percent.

Turnout was 64.4 percent. The commission said it will release the final results early on Tuesday at the latest. 

The electoral campaign was dominated by concerns over an erosion of democratic rights and bread-and-butter economic issues.

Poland is facing its first recession since the end of communism because of the coronavirus pandemic fallout.

The election was scheduled to be held in May but had to be postponed because of the virus outbreak.

‘Ideology’

PiS has cast Duda as the guardian of its generous welfare programmes, which have helped it win national elections in 2015 and 2019, and of its pledge to protect traditional family values in predominantly Catholic Poland.

A devout believer himself, Duda had campaigned on a promise to ban classes about gay rights in schools, saying LGBT “ideology” was worse than communist doctrine.

“The campaign goes on because Poland needs it,” Duda told jubilant supporters in the central town of Lowicz. “Some people have a complex and think we are not Europeans. We are, and have been … since we converted to Christianity.”

But his long-held lead crumbled in the weeks before the election after a late entry by Trzaskowski, who appears to have galvanised many voters eager to end Poland’s isolation within the European Union or angry over Duda’s allegiance to PiS.


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A tale of two brothers: Poland, politics, and the press

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Polish president Duda faces tough run-off vote on July 12

WARSAW (Reuters) – Poland’s nationalist incumbent Andrzej Duda won the first round of a presidential election on Sunday but will have to face the centrist mayor of Warsaw in a run-off on July 12, in a race that could transform the nation’s ties with the European Union.

The re-election of government ally Duda is crucial if the ruling nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party is to implement further its socially conservative agenda, including judiciary reforms the EU says contravene democratic standards.

An exit poll showed Duda winning 41.8% of ballots on Sunday, against 30.4% for Rafal Trzaskowski from the Civic Platform party. Final results could differ slightly but any changes are not expected to affect who will compete in the second round.

Two opinion polls conducted late on Sunday for private broadcaster TVN and the state-run TVP showed Duda having a lead of less than 2 percentage points over Trzaskowski in two weeks.

PiS has cast Duda as the guardian of its generous welfare programmes, which have helped it win national elections in 2015 and 2019, and of its pledge to protect traditional family values in predominantly Catholic Poland.

Related Coverage

  • Poland's Duda ahead in presidential election first round

A devout believer himself, Duda had campaigned on a promise to ban classes about gay rights in schools, saying LGBT “ideology” was worse than communist doctrine.

“The campaign goes on because Poland needs it,” Duda told jubilant supporters in the central town of Lowicz. “Some people have a complex and think we are not Europeans. We are, and have been… since we converted to Christianity.”

But his long-held lead crumbled in the weeks ahead of the election, after a late entry by Trzaskowski who appears to have galvanised many voters keen to end Poland’s isolation within the EU or angry over Duda’s allegiance to PiS.

FRAGILE MAJORITY

The Civic Platform, a party once led by former EU Council president Donald Tusk, replaced its flagging candidate with Trzaskowski after the election was postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic by seven weeks.

A former EU emissary for his party, Trzaskowski has promised to work towards repairing relations with Poland’s European allies, and to oppose any government efforts to tighten already restrictive abortion rules.

The election is being closed watched in Brussels.

Under PiS, Poland became the only EU state to refuse to commit to the bloc’s 2050 climate goal in December 2019, which critics said could undermine its ambition to take on the leading role in the global fight with climate change.

If he wins the election in July, Trzaskowski will have limited scope to direct policy, but will be able to veto legislation proposed by the government.

This could give him a chance to block efforts by the government of prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki to deepen court reforms, which the EU has said politicise the judiciary, or refuse appointments of new judges.

“We will soon decide whether we will have a strong president who will hold the government to account or a president who doesn’t respect his own signature,” Trzaskowski said during an election-night rally in Warsaw.

Observers say a win by Trzaskowski could undermine the fragile majority PiS has in parliament, and force Morawiecki to govern as a minority cabinet, or even face an early national election.

“The second round is expected to be closer than it has been in a long time,” said Agnieszka Kwiatkowska, a sociologist at the SWPS university.

“Duda will have the support of the entire government, with its ability to make election promises and offer financial incentives to voters … The question is will he be able to use it.”

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France's Macron takes drubbing in local elections, Greens surge

PARIS (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist party faced a drubbing on Sunday in municipal elections, while the Greens surged into power in several big cities.

In a rare bright spot for Macron, his prime minister, Edouard Philippe, won his bid to become mayor of the northern port city of Le Havre. That could lead to a government reshuffle, although the French constitution allows Philippe to name someone else to act as mayor while he remains prime minister.

But otherwise the vote – delayed for months by the coronavirus crisis – delivered a dire verdict for the president, who could emerge from the vote without winning a single contest in a major city, two years before he faces re-election.

Exit polls showed the Greens and their leftist allies winning control of Lyon and Marseille, and ahead in the race for Bordeaux City Hall. In Paris, the biggest prize of all, an exit poll showed Socialist mayor Anne Hidalgo holding on to her job after a shambolic campaign by Macron’s camp.

People voted in low numbers and wearing face masks in the second round election. The first round was held just days before Macron declared a lockdown in March.

Partial results showed Marine Le Pen’s far-right Rassemblement National (National Rally) winning in Perpignan, the first time the protectionist, anti-EU party has taken control of a town with a population of more than 100,000 people.

“We shall be able to demonstrate that we are capable of running a big town,” said Le Pen.

A year ago Macron had hoped the local elections would help anchor his young centrist party in towns and cities across France, including Paris, ahead of an anticipated 2022 re-election bid. But more recently, presidential aides have been playing down expectations.

France’s 35,000 mayors set policy on issues from urban planning to education and the environment. While local factors typically drive voter choices, they give the electorate an opportunity to support or punish a president mid-mandate.

“We have a government that is completely disconnected from reality,” said Naouel, a voter in Paris’ 9th district who said she was backing the centre-right opposition candidate.

Turnout was just 40.5%, interior ministry data showed.

Macron has said he will “reinvent” his presidency and present a detailed plan next month for the final two years of his mandate.

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Poland begins voting in presidential election delayed by pandemic

Incumbent President Andrzej Duda is running for re-election that could weaken the country’s right-wing government.

Polish voters began casting their ballots on Sunday in round one of a tight presidential race that had to be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Incumbent Andrzej Duda, 48, is campaigning for re-election in a vote that could determine the future of the right-wing government that supports him.

Polling stations opened at 7am (05:00 GMT) and will close at 9pm (19:00 GMT) with an exit poll expected as soon as voting ends.

Ten candidates are vying to replace him, but opinion polls suggest that Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, a liberal from the main Civic Platform (PO) opposition party, will enter a neck-and-neck runoff on July 12.

Victory for Trzaskowski, also 48, would deal a heavy blow to the Law and Justice (PiS) government, which has relied on its ally Duda to endorse polarising legislation, especially judicial reforms.

While the PiS insists the changes are needed to weed out judicial corruption, critics and the European Union insist they erode judicial independence and democracy just three decades after Poland shed communism.

US President Donald Trump, who regards the populist PiS administration as a key European ally, gave Duda his blessing this week.

Trump invited him to the White House on Wednesday as the first foreign leader to visit since the coronavirus pandemic began, just four days ahead of election day. 

Originally scheduled for May, the ballot was postponed due to the pandemic and a new hybrid system of postal and conventional voting was put in place on Sunday in a bid to stem infections.

While official figures show at least 33,000 confirmed cases and more than 1,400 deaths, the health minister has admitted that there are likely up to 1.6 million undetected cases in Poland, an EU country of 38 million people.

Anti-gay rhetoric

Duda has promised to defend the governing party’s raft of popular social benefits, including a child allowance and extra pension payments – a key factor behind the populists winning a second term in October’s parliamentary election.

Bread and butter issues are weighing heavily on voters’ minds as the economic fallout of the pandemic is set to send Poland into its first recession since communism’s demise.

“I’m happy. I can’t complain; I get an extra pension payment and children are getting 500 zloty,” Irena, a 63-year-old pensioner, told AFP in the central Polish town of Minsk Mazowiecki.

“I’d like this to continue,” she added, declining to provide her surname.

Duda has also echoed PiS attacks on LGBT+ rights and Western values, something analysts see as a bid to attract voters backing a far-right candidate.

Campaigning with the slogan “Enough is Enough”, Trzaskowski promises to use the experience and contacts he gathered as a former European affairs minister to “fight hard” for a fair slice of the EU’s 2021-27 budget, and to repair tattered ties with Brussels.

He has, however, promised to keep the PiS’s popular welfare payments.

While many see his PO party as a weak and ineffectual opposition, Trzaskowski supporters regard him as a bulwark against the PiS’s drive to reform the courts, something they insist risks destroying any notion of an independent judiciary.

“I’m a lawyer and this (PiS justice reforms) affect me directly,” Marek, 60, told AFP in Minsk Mazowiecki, also declining to provide his surname.

“It’s as if a blacksmith would go to a watchmaker’s shop and try to put things in order. People might support it, but in the long run, these reforms will have to be reversed.”

‘Budapest model’

Since winning power in 2015, both Duda and the PiS have in many ways upended Polish politics by stoking tensions with the EU and wielding influence through state-owned companies and public broadcasters.

Some analysts view the election as a crucial juncture: a second five-year term for Duda would allow the PiS to make even more controversial changes while defeat could unravel the party’s power.

A win for Duda would pave the way to “bolstering ‘Eastern’ tendencies, like the rise of oligarchs … and a drift to the Budapest model (of Hungary’s Viktor Orban) – that’s the danger,” Warsaw University political scientist Anna Materska-Sosnowska told AFP.


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Poland: The EU’s media freedom conundrum

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Martin named new Irish prime minister, vows to tackle deep recession

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland’s parliament picked veteran opposition leader Micheál Martin as prime minister on Saturday to head the first ever coalition uniting the two parties that have battled each other for power since a civil war nearly a century ago.

He pledged to rescue Ireland from the “the fastest-moving recession ever to hit”, brought on by the coronavirus crisis.

Martin’s Fianna Fail party was forced to join forces with its foes Fine Gael, after a surprise election surge for leftist Irish nationalists Sinn Fein left neither of the traditional centrist parties with enough support to govern on its own. They and are joined in coalition by the environmentalist Greens.

Under a novel agreement, Martin is expected to step aside half way through the five-year term to allow Fine Gael’s leader, outgoing Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, to return to the post.

“There is no question what our most urgent work is. There is no community, no part of our country which has escaped untouched” by coronavirus), Martin told a special sitting of lawmakers, held in Dublin’s large Convention Centre as the houses of parliament are too small for social distancing.

To overcome the recession “we must act with urgency and ambition,” said Martin, close to tears as he thanked his family who were unable to travel from his native Cork due to coronavirus restrictions due to be eased on Monday.

He was elected by 93 votes to 63 after also securing support from some independent members of parliament.

The appointment represented a turnaround for Fianna Fail and Martin, who was a member of the government that signed up to an EU/IMF bailout a decade ago and led to an unprecedented 2011 electoral collapse just after he took over as leader.

The 59-year-old former history teacher, who has held several senior ministries including health, trade, foreign affairs and education, faces another economic crisis with 26% of the country either temporarily or permanently unemployed.

The jobless rate was just 4.8% when the election was fought in very different circumstances in February. The main issue then was over how to allot the spoils of what was Europe’s fastest growing economy.

Instead Martin will oversee a stimulus package next month for the sectors hardest hit by the coronavirus lockdown.

The new coalition will also split Irish politics along more explicitly ideological lines than in the past, with Sinn Fein taking over as the main opposition. Though Fianna Fail and Fine Gael emerged from opposite sides in civil war in the 1920s, they have mainly pushed similar centrist agendas for decades.

Sinn Fein, the former political wing of the Irish Republican Army that fought an insurgency against British rule of Northern Ireland, shocked the political establishment in February by securing the most votes with a call for more generous social programmes. It has 37 seats in the 160-seat parliament, the same number as Fianna Fail and two more than Fine Gael.

“You will no longer get it all your own way,” Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald told the two parties.

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Danish far-right party leader sentenced to jail on racism and defamation

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – The leader of Danish far-right party Stram Kurs, lawyer Rasmus Paludan, was disbarred from the legal profession and sentenced to three months in jail on Thursday after being found guilty of racism.

Stram Kurs (Hard Line) was close to getting into parliament in the last election in Denmark with a policy based on banning Islam and deporting hundreds of thousands of Muslims.

Paludan first came to public attention in 2017 when he started making anti-Muslim Youtube videos. His stunts have included publicly burning the Koran, sometimes wrapped in bacon, in what he said was a tribute to free speech.

Paludan was sentenced to 14 days of conditional imprisonment in 2019 for racist speech. He will now face one month of imprisonment with two additional months of suspended sentence after being found guilty of 14 different accounts of racism, defamation and hazardous driving.

Additionally, as part of his sentence, Paludan was disbarred for three years, had his driver’s licence suspended for one year and was fined around 40,000 Danish crowns ($6,012.23), the district court said in a statement.

Paludan denied all charges.

($1 = 6.65 Danish crowns)

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Singapore GE2020: PPP's Goh Meng Seng to contest MacPherson SMC, likely to face off PAP's Tin Pei Ling

SINGAPORE – The People’s Power Party (PPP) secretary-general Goh Meng Seng on Thursday (June 25) said he will contest MacPherson SMC, where he is expected to face off against the People’s Action Party’s Tin Pei Ling.

In a Facebook post on Thursday, Mr Goh posted a picture of a map of the MacPherson area and captioned it: “Finally put my Operational Skills learned from Army as Officer into good use…”

When contacted, the 50-year-old confirmed that he would stand in the single seat, and said more details will be released later on Thursday.

Ms Tin was first elected in 2011 and won a three-cornered fight for MacPherson in 2015, garnering 65.6 per cent of the vote.

On Tuesday, PPP announced plans to field candidates in the Radin Mas and MacPherson SMCs, two areas where other opposition parties have backed out.

In a Facebook post at about 2.30am on Wednesday, the party subsequently said it would “take a step back” for the Reform Party to focus on Radin Mas.

Mr Goh said his party, which he formed to run in the last election in 2015, has two core principles – to ensure every Singaporean has a choice to vote for different parties, and to avoid three-cornered fights.

The National Solidarity Party (NSP) had indicated its interest in MacPherson SMC in March, but has since dropped its plan, ST understands.

“I hate to see MacPherson being left behind, this was the first place I held a rally at when I was with NSP in 2011,” said Mr Goh, who was NSP’s secretary-general at the time. He quit the party after the 2011 election and set up PPP.

“It’s only good for me to get back there to do something,” he added.

MacPherson, a single ward which was merged with Marine Parade GRC in 1991, became an SMC again in the 2015 election.

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