GE could be held in June, say political observers
Singaporeans could go to the polls in June, said political observers, noting that this was the earliest possible window for the general election after the introduction of a Bill setting out arrangements for an election during the Covid-19 crisis.
The Parliamentary Elections (Covid-19 Special Arrangements) Bill, introduced by Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing in Parliament yesterday, lists measures that must be taken to safely conduct an election during the coronavirus pandemic.
While the Elections Department has said the Bill forms part of the contingency plans for the next general election and has no relation to its timing, the proposed legislation has provided fresh indications of when the polls might take place.
Experts noted that the Bill's passage is a necessary step before the general election, which must be held by April 14 next year.
Singapore Management University law don Eugene Tan said the proposed legislation is set to be debated at the next Parliament sitting - likely to be next month - before it is passed.
Associate Professor Bilveer Singh from the National University of Singapore said Parliament will likely be dissolved and a writ of election issued after the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan ends with Hari Raya Aidilfitri on May 24.
"Economically and politically speaking, the $60 billion in support packages has generated a lot of goodwill from the public," said Prof Singh.
Political observer Mustafa Izzuddin reckons the election is unlikely to be held next year as "it is not common practice for the government to hold the election the year it is due".
Political leaders have also given indications they would prefer to hold it sooner, so they can focus on "battling the pandemic, bringing back normalcy to Singapore, and ensuring the economy picks up quickly and jobs are protected post Covid-19", said Dr Mustafa.
But Prof Tan added the caveat that while June may be the first window for the general election, this was contingent on whether "circuit breaker" measures manage to slow down the rate of Covid-19 infections.