The Sage of Singapore has spoken:
He (MM Lee) said there would be ‘no purpose’ in holding an election in Singapore before 2011, but the timing of a poll will depend on the health of the global economy.
Actually I agree with him.
Amidst all the speculation in the media and blogosphere that elections are coming, I can’t fathom why the PAP government would want to call early elections.
I think public opinion and confidence in the government is currently at an all time low. While “low” is not low compared to countries like Japan, where the prime minister’s approval ratings are in the teens, it is still too low to win as convincingly as the last time round.
Let’s face it: Whether elections are held tomorrow, next year or in January 2012, the PAP is going to win an outright majority. The question is by how much and whether they will lose any more seats in the next election.
But common wisdom states that the best time (for the PAP) to hold an election is at the start of a recession, or towards the tail end of one. MM Lee, and even his son the PM, has said that 2009 could see an 8% contraction in the economy. This would be an appalling performance, and more so if our economy contracts more than our neighbours and competitors.
The 2009 Budget contains billions of benefits for companies, but just peanuts for Singaporeans. That’s not a recipe for electoral success, since companies don’t vote.
Of course the PAP is free to act on its hubris and call for elections nonetheless. We’ll see what dent the opposition can make on the ballot box.