Singaporeans headed to the polls with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s People’s Action Party expected to handily win re-election even as it faces a contest in every district for the first time since independence. The party that has ruled Singapore for more than five decades will have an indication soon after 8 p.m. how it performed compared to 2011, when it won with its smallest share of the popular vote since 1965. The Elections Department will conduct a sample count, where 100 random ballot papers are counted in each polling station once voting ends. The poll gives Singaporeans a chance to assess how Lee’s administration has fared in tackling issues that hurt it in 2011, including living costs, public transport disruptions and immigration. The PAP moved after that vote to further boost spending on lower-income families and the elderly, and has sought to capitalize on the groundswell of patriotism that followed massive celebrations last month to mark the nation’s modern founding.
“They’re evolving with the electorate,” said Wai Ho Leong, a Singapore-based economist at Barclays Plc, referring to the PAP. “The burning issues that were with Singapore in 2011 have since receded because the government has systematically worked to address some of these election concerns that were very pressing in 2011.”
Adrian Tam, a 25-year-old engineer and first-time voter, had Malaysian rice balls with curry at a local hawker center with his parents before heading to a polling station. The PAP has been more responsive since it lost seats in 2011, said Tam, an eight-year resident of Jurong in Singapore’s west. “You wake up when you feel threatened.”