No physical rallies allowed if GE is held during phase two
Parties and candidates may campaign online; additional TV airtime will be given for political broadcasts
There will be no physical rallies if the general election is held during phase two of Singapore's reopening from the coronavirus circuit breaker.
The Elections Department (ELD) made this clear yesterday as it unveiled preliminary campaigning guidelines for an election held during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Instead of mass public rallies, political parties and candidates may carry out campaigning activities online, and additional airtime on TV will be given for political broadcasts.
The Government will also provide venues for e-rally livestreams at specific time slots during the campaign period.
ELD said the guidelines are designed to protect the health and safety of the public, and to ensure voters have access to campaign messages.
"The announcement of these guidelines has no relation to the timing of the general election, which will be decided by the prime minister," it said.
The livestream venues will be provided at a subsidised rate, and will be equipped with Internet connectivity.
More details will be made available after the writ of election is issued.
For the first time, every candidate will be given three minutes to speak in any of the four official languages as part of new constituency political broadcasts (CPBs) that will be aired on Mediacorp's Channel 5.
These are a special one-off arrangement for the upcoming election, on top of the two political broadcasts permitted for each party, which will be aired on 19 TV and radio channels, up from 13 in 2015.
Each set of candidates in a group representation constituency will be given either 12 or 15 minutes of airtime, depending on whether they are contesting a four- or five-seat GRC.
Parties can decide whether one or more candidates should speak during the allotted time.
The public is advised to watch the political broadcasts at home, and not gather in groups beyond the sizes allowed by the Ministry of Health.
Supporters will not be allowed entry into nomination centres, and will not be allowed to gather at assembly centres and wait for results.
Instead, nomination proceedings will be covered live by the national broadcaster on TV and on online platforms.
While perambulating vehicles can be used for campaigning, candidates will not be allowed to speak, livestream or broadcast music or videos from the vehicle.
Similarly, the police will also not grant any permits for thank-you vehicular processions after Polling Day, it added.
Political parties doing walkabouts and door-to-door campaigning should cap the group at five people.
Each group member should also remain at least one metre apart from one another.
Enforcement officers will not be deployed specifically to ensure candidates and parties adhere to safe distancing rules.
ELD said: "If safe distancing ambassadors and enforcement officers come across instances of non-compliance with safe distancing measures, appropriate actions in accordance with the prevailing safe distancing and safe management guidelines will be taken.
"This is no different than for any member of the general public."