2011 Singaporean general election

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2011 Singaporean general election

← 2006 7 May 2011 (2011-05-07) 2015 →

All 87 directly elected seats in Parliament (and up to 9 NCMPs)
Turnout93.18% (Decrease 0.82pp)
  First party Second party Third party
Leader Lee Hsien Loong Low Thia Khiang Chiam See Tong
Last election 66.60%, 82 seats 16.50%, 2 seats 12.96%, 1 seat
Seats won 81 8 1
Seat change Decrease 1 Increase 6 Steady
Popular vote 1,212,154 258,510 62,639
Percentage 60.14% 12.83% 3.11%
Swing Decrease6.46pp Decrease3.67pp

Results by constituency

Prime Minister before election

Lee Hsien Loong

Prime Minister after election

Lee Hsien Loong

General elections were held in Singapore on 7 May 2011. President S. R. Nathan dissolved parliament on 19 April 2011 on the advice of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.[1] Voting is mandatory in Singapore and is based on the first-past-the-post system. Elections are conducted by the Elections Department, which is under the jurisdiction of the Prime Minister's Office. Nomination day was held on 27 April 2011, and for the second election in a row, the PAP did not return to government on nomination day, but it did return to government on polling day.[2] This election also marked the first and the only three-cornered fight since 2001 in Punggol East SMC before it increased to four-cornered fight on a by-election held two years later.

The elections were described as a "watershed" by various parties. The ruling PAP reminded voters that the election will determine "Singapore's next generation of leaders".[3] The Workers' Party called it a "watershed election" both for Singapore and the opposition, as it marked the first time in two decades that the only two incumbent opposition MPs moved out of their respective strongholds and contested in Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs), risking a situation where there would be "no elected opposition MPs".[4] This was despite the elections having the highest proportion of contested seats since independence, with 82 of 87 seats contested.[5] 2011 was the year that saw the highest proportion of seats contested since post-independence; with the second being in 1972 when 57 of 65 seats were contested,[6] It marked the first electoral contests in Bishan–Toa Payoh (since 1991) and Holland–Bukit Timah, and also marked Tanjong Pagar as the only constituency to remain uncontested since its formation in 1991. This was the last general election to date where there were walkovers in at least one constituency as subsequent elections would saw all constituencies being contested for the first time in post-independence since 1963.

The final results saw a 6 percentage point swing against the PAP from the 2006 elections to 60%, its lowest since independence.[7] While the PAP met most expectations to sweep into power and claimed over two-thirds of parliamentary seats, winning 81 out of 87 seats, the Worker's Party (WP) retained Hougang SMC and won Aljunied GRC. This marked the first time a GRC was won by an opposition party since the introduction of GRCs. WP won six seats in Parliament, the best opposition parliamentary result since independence.[8][9] As six Members of Parliament from the opposition were elected, only three Non-Constituency Member of Parliament seats were offered, one to Lina Chiam from the Singapore People's Party and the other 2 seats to Yee Jenn Jong and Gerald Giam from the Worker's Party. These offers were all accepted, resulting in a total of nine opposition MPs after the election.[10][11]

This election marked several firsts: the total electorate exceeded 2 million, and with 94% of the seats contested, this was the "most active" election in Singapore's history between 1968 and 2011. As the presidential election occurred three months after the election, 2011 also marked its first year in Singapore since the amendment of the constitution of elected presidency in 1991 where both national elections were held in the same calendar year.


The 2011 general elections were the sixteenth general elections in Singapore and eleventh since independence. The governing People's Action Party (PAP) sought to secure their 13th consecutive term in office since 1959. This was the second election since Lee Hsien Loong became its Secretary-General.

Parliamentary reform[edit]

On 11 March 2010 the Government tabled three bills in the parliament to amend the Constitution, the Presidential Elections Act and the Parliamentary Elections Act.[12] These amendments reduced the number of Group representation constituencies (GRC), increased the number of Non-Constituency Members of Parliament (NCMPs) to a maximum of nine (inclusive of the number of elected opposition members of Parliament), and the number of Nominated Members of Parliament (NMPs) permanent also to nine.[12] A one-day "cooling-off" day was implemented, during which campaigning was forbidden, with only party political broadcasts allowed. Internet campaigning was also formally legalised as a legitimate means of political campaigning.[12] On 26 April 2010, the amendments to the Constitution were passed by a vote of 74–1 after a three-hour debate on the bill.[13]

Political parties[edit]

The governing People's Action Party (PAP) has been in power since Singapore's independence in 1965, and is currently led by the Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Besides the ruling PAP, the other major political parties that may contest the upcoming elections are the Workers' Party of Singapore (WP) led by Low Thia Khiang, the Singapore People's Party led by Chiam See Tong which left the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) in 2011, the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) led by Chee Soon Juan,[b][14] the National Solidarity Party (NSP) led by Goh Meng Seng which left the SDA in 2007, the Reform Party (Singapore) led by Kenneth Jeyaretnam, and the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) led by Desmond Lim, which is composed of the Pertubuhan Kebangsaan Melayu Singapura (Singapore Malay National Organization) (PKMS) and the Singapore Justice Party (SJP). The Reform Party is the newest party and was created on 18 June 2008 and was then led by former Member of Parliament J.B. Jeyaretnam. He could have stood for election after he was discharged from bankruptcy and reinstated to the bar,[15] however, Jeyaretnam died of heart failure on 30 September 2008 at the age of 82.[16] His eldest son, Kenneth Jeyaretnam has since taken up leadership of the party and is now its secretary-general.[17]

Electoral divisions[edit]

The Electoral Boundaries Review Committee normally publishes an updated list of electoral divisions just before elections are called. Prior to the latest amendments, there were fourteen GRCs, each with five or six seats, and nine Single Member Constituencies (SMC). There were a total of 84 seats being contested in the general election of 2006.

The new electoral map for 2011 was announced on 24 February 2011.[18][19]

Singapore electoral boundaries, released in February 2011
2006 2011
Electoral divisions

Representation constituencies

Total GRCs
Four-Member GRCs 0 2
Five-Member GRCs 9 11
Six-Member GRCs 5 2
Single member constituencies 9 12
Voters (overseas votes inclusive)

The changes made in the electoral divisions are as follows:

Constituency Changes
Aljunied GRC Absorbed portions of Kaki Bukit division from Marine Parade GRC, and a minor portion of Hougang SMC
Carved out portions of Aljunied–Hougang division to Ang Mo Kio GRC, and a minor portion of Aljunied–Hougang and Bedok Reservoir-Punggol divisions to Pasir Ris–Punggol GRC
Ang Mo Kio GRC Absorbed Aljunied–Hougang division (renamed to Ang Mo Kio-Hougang) from Aljunied GRC and Yio Chu Kang SMC
Carved out Nee Soon South division into Nee Soon GRC, and Sengkang West division into SMC
Bishan–Toa Payoh GRC No change in boundaries
Chua Chu Kang GRC New Constituency
Formed from a majority of Hong Kah GRC (except for Hong Kah North division, which carved into SMC), and Chua Chu Kang SMC
East Coast GRC Carved a portion of Kampong-Chai Chee to Marine Parade GRC
Holland–Bukit Timah GRC Ward downsized to four members
Carved out Buona Vista division into Tanjong Pagar GRC, a minor portion of Bukit Timah to West Coast GRC, and portions of Toh Guan to Jurong GRC
Jurong GRC Carved out Yuhua division into SMC
Portions of Jurong Central and Taman Jurong divisions, West Coast GRC and Hong Kah GRC were formed into Jurong Spring division
Marine Parade GRC Ward downsized to five members
Absorbed MacPherson SMC and a minor portion of Joo Chiat SMC
Portions of Kaki Bukit and the entire Kampong Ubi-Kembangan divisions, and Kampong Chai Chee division from East Coast GRC were formed into Kembangan-Chai Chee division
Carved out a portion of Kaki Bukit division to Aljunied GRC, and Mountbatten division into SMC
Moulmein–Kallang GRC New Constituency
Formed from Jalan Besar GRC (except for Kreta Ayer–Kim Seng division (excluding northern Hong Lim portions) which was absorbed into Tanjong Pagar GRC, and Whampoa division as a SMC), and Moulmein division from Tanjong Pagar GRC
Nee Soon GRC New Constituency
Formed from Nee Soon Central SMC, Nee Soon East SMC, Nee Soon South divisions from Ang Mo Kio GRC (excluding the Lentor area south of Seletar Expressway), and Canberra and Chong Pang divisions from Sembawang GRC[20]
Pasir Ris–Punggol GRC Carved out Punggol East division into SMC, and a minor portion of Punggol South division to Ang Mo Kio GRC
Portions of Punggol Central and North divisions were formed into Punggol West division
Sembawang GRC Ward downsized to five members
Carved out Canberra and Chong Pang to Nee Soon GRC
Portions of Sembawang and Woodlands were formed into Woodgrove division.
Tampines GRC No change in boundaries
Tanjong Pagar GRC Ward downsized to five members
Absorbed Buona Vista and Kreta Ayer–Kim Seng divisions from Holland–Bukit Timah GRC and Jalan Besar GRC, respectively
Carved out Moulmein division into Moulmein–Kallang GRC, and Radin Mas division into SMC
Merged Tanjong Pagar and Tiong Bahru divisions to form Tanjong Pagar-Tiong Bahru division
West Coast GRC Carved out portions of Pioneer division into SMC, while Jurong Industrial, Jurong Island, Gul Circle, Tuas and Joo Koon were transferred to Ayer Rajah division
Ayer Rajah-West Coast division were split into Ayer Rajah and West Coast divisions.



Date Event
24 February Publication of Electoral Boundaries report
3 March Certification of Registers of Electors
19 April Dissolution of 11th Parliament; Writ of Election issued
22 April Deadline of Submission of Political Donation Certificates
27 April Nomination Day/First Live Political Party Broadcast
27 April-5 May Campaigning Period
6 May Cooling-off Day/Second Live Political Party Broadcast
7 May Polling Day
11 May Overseas Votes Counting
16 May Candidates revealed for Non-Constituency Member of Parliament
21 May 12th Parliament assembled
10 October Opening of 12th Parliament

New candidates[edit]

A total of 78 candidates were brand-new to this election. Notable candidates out of the 24 introduced from the People's Action Party that were part of the "fourth-generation" (4G) cabinet which include the eventual fourth Prime Minister of Singapore Lawrence Wong, a future Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore Heng Swee Keat, an ex-SAF Chief and ministers Chan Chun Sing, Tan Chuan-Jin, as well as Desmond Lee and Ong Ye Kung, the sons of former MPs Lee Yock Suan and Ong Lian Ten respectively.

There were 54 debuting candidates from six opposition party, which include Pritam Singh who made another inroad into Parliament and went on to become the Workers' Party succeeding leader in 2018, as well as Lina Loh (wife of then-Potong Pasir SMC MP Chiam See Tong), Kenneth Andrew Jeyaretnam (son of the late J. B. Jeyaretnam), Nicole Seah, Tan Jee Say, Hazel Poa (who also joined by her spouse Tony Tan Lay Thiam) and Benjamin Pwee Yek Guan.

Retiring politicians[edit]

20 existing PAP members from the 11th Parliament will not see re-election, among which 18 announced their retirement, ten of which being office holders,[21] and two members, Balaji Sadasivan (Ang Mo Kio GRC) and Ong Chit Chung (Jurong GRC), died during their term in office but neither by-elections were called since their wards were part of a Group Representation Constituency; the latter however would later become a Bukit Batok Single Member Constituency on the next election in 2015. Eric Low, another PAP candidate that first entered politics in the 2001 election but lost twice to WP, did not seek re-election, making him the second PAP candidate to participate but did not enter parliament (the first being Pang Kim Hin).

Staking claims[edit]

Soon after the announcement of the new electoral boundaries, various opposition parties indicated their intent to contest, subject to negotiations between political parties to avoid three-cornered fights. The parties declaring an interest to contest each constituency and their nomination status is reflected below.

Nominations by various opposition parties as on nomination day on 27 April 2011. Banded shading indicates constituencies with three-party contests. There was no contest in Tanjong Pagar after the opposition team intending to submit a nomination were disqualified.

General election campaign[edit]

Televised forum[edit]

In the first pre-election forum of this nature in Singapore since the 1988 General Election, Channel NewsAsia invited the main parties to record an hour-long programme. The programme, in English entitled, “A political forum on Singapore's future” brought together the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) and four opposition parties to discuss long and short-term challenges for the country. [22] The forum included:

Social media[edit]

The Worker's Party utilised social media to circumvent obstacles placed in front of them by Singapore's government-controlled media.[23]

Political rallies[edit]

The Singapore Police Force announced 41 political rally sites on 27 April which could be booked by political parties on a first-come-first-served basis. Rallies were allowed to be conducted from 28 April to 5 May, from 7am to 10pm. The 41st site is for lunch time rallies at Boat Quay near to the UOB Plaza.[24]


Online video[edit]

During the 2011 elections campaigning, Vivian Balakrishnan said the SDP was "suppressing a certain YouTube video, which raises some very awkward questions about the agenda and motivations of the SDP and its candidates".[26] He issued the following statement:

I am not sure what [the SDP] strategy is...I can't help feeling that part of the reason for their reticence is they have elements of their agenda they are not prepared to disclose and subject to scrutiny. Eventually, they will have to come out of the closet. (The Straits Times, 20 April 2011)

Vincent Wijeysingha rejected his comments stating, "We've been a very open party and we're very clear."[27]

This incident was cited in an article published in The Economist criticising the ruling party's election strategy[28] The New Paper released a story next day, with the headline: Is Singapore ready for a GAY MP?"[29] Kenneth Jeyaretnam of the Reform Party called Balakrishnan's campaign a "low attack."[26]

Balakrishnan received widespread controversy and criticism online for his remark,.[30] On 28 April, he told the press: "there is "no need" to further discuss [the] video". He said that his question was a "legitimate".[31]

Cooling-off day controversies[edit]

Nicole Seah, a team member contesting Marine Parade GRC under the NSP team, filed a complaint to the Elections Department on 6 May stating PAP-team member Tin Pei Ling had violated the state-mandated cooling-off period 24 hours before polls by posting a Facebook comment "in response to a video [in the state press] that showed Seah crying after being told about a MacPherson female resident who could not get a refund of her son's $80 tuition fees".[32]

The NSP team was advised by the Elections Department to lodge a police report before the Elections Department could investigate.[33]

The day after the election, Seah told reporters that her party had not received any response after making the complaint, and said no decision had been taken on whether or not to pursue the issue. She added that the NSP knew "it is an uphill battle to get any results out of this. I would rather devote my time and resources to the residents".[34]

A similar complaint was lodged against Seah alleging that material had been published on her Facebook page during Cooling-Off Day. On 10 August, the Singapore Police Force announced that it had concluded its investigations into the two incidents, and that aside from a "stern warning" to Tin's friend, neither action was taken against either Tin or Seah.[35]

Separately, the NSP also complained that the PAP had been distributing election material to residents in Tampines GRC in violation of cooling-off regulations.[33]


After polls closed at 8pm, vote counting began. Results were announced by Yam Ah Mee, chief executive director of the People's Association, who acted as the Returning Officer for the election.[36] The first result was declared at 11.58pm on 7 May 2011, where PAP candidate Lim Biow Chuan won the Mountbatten Single Member Constituency with a majority of 3,529.

At 1.31 am on 8 May 2011, the PAP team for Ang Mo Kio Group Representation Constituency was declared to have won the division, putting the PAP's seat tally at 44 seats, and thus formed the government. The final result to be declared was for the Potong Pasir Single Member Constituency at 2.51am on 8 May, where the PAP gained the seat from the SPP on a razor-thin margin of 114 votes.

The political status quo was kept as the People's Action Party won a 13th consecutive term in office since 1959. However, the PAP saw its vote majorities reduced island-wide for a second election in a row. The PAP won 81 seats out of 87 despite losing Aljunied Group Representation Constituency to the WP, which also won in Hougang Single Member Constituency. None of the other five opposition parties won contests, including the SPP which lost Potong Pasir that it held prior to the election. WP marked the first opposition GRC victory since GRCs were introduced in 1988,[37] which resulted in the electoral defeat of Foreign Minister George Yeo[38][39] and a second Cabinet minister Lim Hwee Hua; both ministers were the first two highest-ranking PAP cabinet ministers to be unseated in the election in post-independence Singapore, with the last time being 1963 (minister Kenneth Michael Byrne lost his seat of Crawford)[40] The PAP also set its lowest national vote share since independence (beating 1991's share of 61.0%), which was just little over 60 per cent, a vote swing of almost negative 7 per cent from 2006.[9]

Excluding electorates from Tanjong Pagar Group Representation Constituency, voter turnout for the election was 93.18%, with 2,060,373 votes cast.[41]

Popular vote

  PAP (60.14%)
  WP (12.83%)
  NSP (12.04%)
  SDP (4.83%)
  RP (4.28%)
  SPP (3.11%)
  SDA (2.78%)


  81 seats (PAP) (93.10%)
  6 seats (WP) (6.89%)
People's Action Party1,212,15460.1481–1
Workers' Party258,51012.836+5
National Solidarity Party242,68212.040New
Singapore Democratic Party97,3694.8300
Reform Party86,2944.280New
Singapore People's Party62,6393.110New
Singapore Democratic Alliance55,9882.780–1
Valid votes2,015,63697.83
Invalid/blank votes44,7372.17
Total votes2,060,373100.00
Registered voters/turnout2,350,87393.18
Source: Singapore Elections[a]

By constituency[edit]

Results of 2011 Singapore general election[42]
Division Seats Voters Party Candidate(s) Votes Votes % Swing Margins
Aljunied GRC 5 143,148 Workers' Party Low Thia Khiang
Sylvia Lim
Chen Show Mao
Pritam Singh
Muhamad Faisal bin Abdul Manap
54.72 / 100
Increase10.81 9.44%
People's Action Party George Yeo
Lim Hwee Hua
Zainul Abidin bin Mohamed Rasheed
Cynthia Phua
Ong Ye Kung
45.28 / 100
Ang Mo Kio GRC 6 179,071 People's Action Party Lee Hsien Loong
Yeo Guat Kwang
Inderjit Singh
Seng Han Thong
Ang Hin Kee
Intan Azura Mokhtar
69.33 / 100
Increase3.19 38.66%
Reform Party Alex Tan
Arthero Lim
Vignes Ramachandran
Lim Zi Rui
Mansor Rahman
Osman Sulaiman
30.67 / 100
Bishan–Toa Payoh GRC 5 122,492 People's Action Party Wong Kan Seng
Ng Eng Hen
Josephine Teo
Hri Kumar
Zainudin Nordin
56.93 / 100
N/A 13.86%
Singapore People's Party Chiam See Tong
Benjamin Pwee
Wilfred Leung
Jimmy Lee
Mohamad Hamim Aliyas
43.07 / 100
Chua Chu Kang GRC 5 158,648 People's Action Party Gan Kim Yong
Alvin Yeo
Zaqy Mohamad
Alex Yam
Low Yen Ling
61.20 / 100
Increase0.83 22.40%
National Solidarity Party Sebastian Teo
Tony Tan
Hazel Poa
Nor Lella Mardiiiah Mohamed
Jeisilan Sivalingam
38.80 / 100
East Coast GRC 5 120,324 People's Action Party Lim Swee Say
Maliki Osman
Lee Yi Shyan
Jessica Tan
Raymond Lim
54.83 / 100
Decrease9.03 9.66%
Workers' Party Eric Tan
Png Eng Huat
Glenda Han
Gerald Giam
Mohamed Fazli Bin Talip
45.17 / 100
Holland–Bukit Timah GRC 4 91,607 People's Action Party Vivian Balakrishnan
Christopher de Souza
Liang Eng Hwa
Sim Ann
60.08 / 100
N/A 20.16%
Singapore Democratic Party Tan Jee Say
Ang Yong Guan
Vincent Wijeysingha
Michelle Lee
39.92 / 100
Jurong GRC 5 125,276 People's Action Party Tharman Shanmugaratnam
Halimah Bte Yacob
Ang Wei Neng
Desmond Lee
David Ong
66.96 / 100
N/A 33.92%
National Solidarity Party Christopher Neo
Abdul Rasheed
Elvin Ong
Ong Hock Siong
Noraini Yunus
33.04 / 100
Marine Parade GRC 5 154,451 People's Action Party Goh Chok Tong
Tan Chuan Jin
Fatimah Lateef
Seah Kian Peng
Tin Pei Ling
56.64 / 100
N/A 13.28%
National Solidarity Party Cheo Chai Chen
Ivan Yeo
Abdul Salim Harun
Spencer Ng
Nicole Seah
43.36 / 100
Moulmein–Kallang GRC 4 87,595 People's Action Party Lui Tuck Yew
Yaacob Ibrahim
Denise Phua
Edwin Tong
58.55 / 100
N/A 17.10%
Workers' Party Mohd Rahizan
Toh Hong Boon
L Somasundram
Frieda Chan
41.45 / 100
Nee Soon GRC 5 148,290 People's Action Party K. Shanmugam
Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim
Lee Bee Wah
Lim Wee Kiak
Patrick Tay
58.40 / 100
N/A 16.80%
Workers' Party John Yam
Angela Faye Oon
Sajeev K. R. Kamalasanan
Watson Chong
Poh Lee Guan
41.60 / 100
Pasir Ris–Punggol GRC 6 168,971 People's Action Party Teo Chee Hean
Teo Ser Luck
Penny Low
Janil Puthucheary
Gan Thiam Poh
Zainal Bin Sapari
64.79 / 100
Decrease3.91 29.58%
Singapore Democratic Alliance Harminder Pal Singh
Sidney Soon
Jeffrey Lim
Lee Song Juan
Tan Keng Hong
Mohammad Shafni Ahmad
35.21 / 100
Sembawang GRC 5 142,459 People's Action Party Khaw Boon Wan
Ellen Lee
Hawazi Daipi
Ong Teng Koon
Vikram Nair
63.9 / 100
Decrease12.8 27.80%
Singapore Democratic Party James Gomez
John Tan
Jarrod Luo
Mohd Isa Abdul Aziz
Sadasivam Veriyah
36.1 / 100
Tampines GRC 5 137,532 People's Action Party Mah Bow Tan
Ng Phek Hoong Irene
Masagos Zulkifli Bin Masagos Mohamad
Baey Yam Keng
Heng Swee Keat
57.22 / 100
Decrease11.29 14.44%
National Solidarity Party Goh Meng Seng
Reno Fong
Syafarin Sarif
Raymond Lim
Gilbert Goh
42.78 / 100
Tanjong Pagar GRC 5 139,771 People's Action Party Lee Kuan Yew
Lily Neo
Indranee Thurai Rajah
Chan Chun Sing
Chia Shi-Lu
Uncontested Walkover
West Coast GRC 5 121,045 People's Action Party Lim Hng Kiang
Fong Jen Arthur
S Iswaran
Foo Mee Har
Lawrence Wong
66.57 / 100
N/A 33.14%
Reform Party Kenneth Jeyaretnam
Frankie Low
Andy Zhu
Kumar Appavoo
Haren Hu
33.43 / 100
Bukit Panjang SMC 1 33,053 People's Action Party Teo Ho Pin 20,375
66.27 / 100
Decrease10.91 32.54%
Singapore Democratic Party Alec Tok 10,372
33.73 / 100
Hong Kah North SMC 1 27,701 People's Action Party Amy Khor 18,156
70.61 / 100
N/A 41.22%
Singapore People's Party Sin Kek Tong 7,556
29.39 / 100
Hougang SMC 1 24,560 Workers' Party Yaw Shin Leong 14,850
64.8 / 100
Increase2.06 29.60%
People's Action Party Desmond Choo 8065
35.2 / 100
Joo Chiat SMC 1 22,069 People's Action Party Charles Chong 9,666
51.02 / 100
Decrease13.99 2.04%
Workers' Party Yee Jenn Jong 9,278
48.98 / 100
Mountbatten SMC 1 23,731 People's Action Party Lim Biow Chuan 11,985
58.62 / 100
N/A 17.24%
National Solidarity Party Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss 8,461
41.38 / 100
Pioneer SMC 1 25,745 People's Action Party Cedric Foo 14,593
60.73 / 100
N/A 21.46%
National Solidarity Party Steve Chia 9,437
39.27 / 100
Potong Pasir SMC 1 17,327 People's Action Party Sitoh Yih Pin 7,992
50.36 / 100
Increase6.18 0.72%
Singapore People's Party Lina Chiam 7,878
49.64 / 100
Punggol East SMC 1 33,281 People's Action Party Michael Palmer 16,994
54.54 / 100
N/A 13.53%
Workers' Party Lee Li Lian 12,777
41.01 / 100
Singapore Democratic Alliance (Loses S$16,000 deposit) Desmond Lim 1,387
4.45 / 100
Radin Mas SMC 1 31,014 People's Action Party Sam Tan 18,609
67.10 / 100
N/A 34.20%
National Solidarity Party Yip Yew Weng 9,123
32.90 / 100
Sengkang West SMC 1 26,882 People's Action Party Lam Pin Min 14,689
58.11 / 100
N/A 16.22%
Workers' Party Koh Choong Yong 10,591
41.89 / 100
Whampoa SMC 1 21,622 People's Action Party Heng Chee How 13,028
66.10 / 100
N/A 32.20%
National Solidarity Party Ken Sun 6,680
33.90 / 100
Yuhua SMC 1 23,195 People's Action Party Grace Fu 14,093
66.86 / 100
N/A 33.72%
Singapore Democratic Party Teo Soh Lung 6,986
33.14 / 100


Top 10 best PAP performers[edit]

  • Constituencies with no comparison to 2006 were either due to them being new constituencies or the constituencies experiencing walkovers in the last election.
# Constituency PAP Opposition
Votes % Swing Votes % Swing
1 Hong Kah North SMC 18,156 70.61 New 7,556 29.39 New
2 Ang Mo Kio GRC 112,677 69.33 Increase 3.19 49,851 30.67 Decrease 3.19
3 Radin Mas SMC 18,609 67.10 New 9,123 32.90 New
4 Jurong GRC 76,595 66.96 Walkover 37,786 33.04 Walkover
5 Yuhua SMC 14,093 66.86 New 6,986 33.14 New
6 West Coast GRC 72,563 66.57 Walkover 36,443 33.43 Walkover
7 Bukit Panjang SMC 20,375 66.27 Decrease 10.91 10,372 33.73 Increase 10.91
8 Whampoa SMC 13,028 66.10 New 6,683 33.90 New
9 Pasir Ris–Punggol GRC 100,493 64.79 Decrease 3.91 54,601 35.21 Increase 3.91
10 Sembawang GRC 84,252 63.9 Decrease 12.8 47,605 36.1 Increase 12.8

Top 16 best opposition performers[edit]

  • Constituencies with no comparison to 2006 were either due to them being new constituencies or the constituencies experiencing walkovers in the last election.
  • Punggol East SMC is excluded from the table as there were two opposition parties which competed against the incumbent. If the WP's 12,765 votes (41.02%) and the SDA's 1,386 votes (4.45%) were summed up, the opposition won 14,151 votes (45.47%), which would place it fifth in the table below.
Constituency Opposition PAP
Votes % Swing Votes % Swing
1 Hougang SMC 14,850 64.8 Increase 2.1 8,065 35.2 Decrease 2.1
2 Aljunied GRC 72,289 54.72 Increase 10.81 59,829 45.28 Decrease 10.81
3 Potong Pasir SMC 7,878 49.64 Decrease 6.18 7,992 50.36 Increase 6.18
4 Joo Chiat SMC 9,278 48.98 Increase 13.99 9,666 51.02 Decrease 13.99
5 East Coast GRC 49,429 45.17 Increase 9.03 59,992 54.83 Decrease 9.03
6 Marine Parade GRC 59,926 43.36 Walkover 78,286 56.64 Walkover
7 Bishan–Toa Payoh GRC 47,205 43.07 Walkover 62,385 56.93 Walkover
8 Tampines GRC 54,381 42.78 Increase 11.29 72,728 57.22 Decrease 11.29
9 Sengkang West SMC 10,591 41.89 New 14,689 58.11 New
10 Nee Soon GRC 57,523 41.60 New 80,740 58.40 New
11 Moulmein–Kallang GRC 31,773 41.45 New 44,886 58.55 New
12 Mountbatten SMC 8,461 41.38 New 11,985 58.62 New
13 Punggol East SMC 12,777 41.01 New 16,994 54.54 New
1,387 4.45
14 Holland–Bukit Timah GRC 32,406 39.92 Walkover 48,773 60.08 Walkover
15 Pioneer SMC 9,437 39.27 New 14,593 60.73 New
16 Chua Chu Kang GRC 56,885 38.80 New 89,710 61.20 New

Vote Swings[edit]

  • Only the following constituencies may be compared with 2006 results as they existed in both elections, although most had changes in their electoral boundaries.
Constituency PAP Opposition
Votes % Swing Votes % Swing
1 Joo Chiat SMC 9,278 48.98 Increase 13.99 9,666 51.02 Decrease 13.99
2 Sembawang GRC 84,252 63.9 Decrease 12.8 47,605 36.1 Increase 12.8
3 Tampines GRC 72,728 57.22 Decrease 11.29 54,381 42.78 Increase 11.29
4 Bukit Panjang SMC 20,375 66.27 Decrease 10.91 10,372 33.73 Increase 10.91
5 Aljunied GRC 59,829 45.28 Decrease 10.81 72,289 54.72 Increase 10.81
6 East Coast GRC 59,992 54.83 Decrease 9.03 49,429 45.17 Increase 9.03
7 Potong Pasir SMC 7,992 50.36 Increase 6.18 7,878 49.64 Decrease 6.18
8 Pasir Ris–Punggol GRC 100,493 64.79 Decrease 3.91 54,601 35.21 Increase 3.91
9 Ang Mo Kio GRC 112,677 69.33 Increase 3.19 49,851 30.67 Decrease 3.19
10 Hougang SMC 8,065 35.2 Decrease 2.1 14,850 64.8 Increase 2.1

Interpretive maps

Vote share won by the ruling People's Action Party by constituency. There was no contest in Tanjong Pagar Group Representation Constituency as there was a walkover.

Post-election events[edit]

Ruling party's immediate reactions[edit]

The People's Action Party's secretary-general, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, described the results as delivering his party a "clear mandate to form the next government".[43] In his post-election press conference, Lee said the polls had "heightened (voters') political consciousness and awareness", and admitted that "many of them desire to see more opposition voices in Parliament to check the PAP government".[44] He described the PAP's loss of Aljunied GRC, which resulted in George Yeo being voted out of Parliament and losing his position as foreign minister, as a "heavy loss to my Cabinet and my team of MPs", but said that the party would "accept and respect the voters' decision".[45] The country's Senior Minister, Goh Chok Tong, also admitted that "there is a sea change in the political landscape" after his team won Marine Parade Group Representation Constituency with just 56.6 percent of the vote.[46]

Opposition parties' immediate reactions[edit]

The Workers Party's secretary-general Low Thia Khiang said his team's win in Aljunied meant that voters had "accepted the WP as a rational, responsible and respected party".[47] In his victory speech, Low declared his win as a "political landmark in modern Singapore".[48][49] He added that it meant the electorate wanted to tell the PAP to be "a more responsive, inclusive, transparent and accountable government”.[7]

In a statement on its website, the Singapore Democratic Party thanked its supporters for their support, saying that it was for them that the party "(continues) to labour on in this undemocratic system with all the odds stacked against us."[50] Its assistant treasurer Vincent Wijeysingha, who stood in Holland–Bukit Timah Group Representation Constituency, said that the party's positive vote swing in its contested wards of almost 13 percent from the last elections was an "indicator that things are beginning to move up for our party."[51] In a second statement on its website, the SDP described its results as "disappointing", but promised to "build on the foundation that we have laid" for the next elections.[52] The party's secretary-general Chee Soon Juan, barred from standing in the election, went on to write an opinion piece for the Guardian, in which he said it "would have been a miracle" had the SDP won any seats, and accused the media in Singapore of suppressing news of the SDP's campaigning.[53]

Other than the PAP and WP, the only other opposition seat pre-election had been held by the Singapore People's Party, which lost it in the polls by just 114 votes. Chiam See Tong, the SPP's secretary-general, said his party would fight to win back Potong Pasir Single Member Constituency, and said that despite being defeated in Bishan–Toa Payoh Group Representation Constituency, he would continue in politics, health permitting.[54] He also questioned the margin of votes in Potong Pasir, contested by his wife, saying there was "funny business" happening. A petition calling for a by-election in the constituency was started by SPP supporters and Potong Pasir residents.[55]

The National Solidarity Party, which contested the most seats of all opposition parties, admitted it may have taken on too much, with its leader Goh Meng Seng telling reporters that he would be "personally responsible" for the party's failure to win a single seat.[51] Its star candidate, Nicole Seah, said Singaporeans now had to unite as a country.[56] Seah, who contested in Marine Parade, also said there was "so much that needs to be done", and that she would continue her work in the area despite her team's defeat.[57]

The leader of the newest opposition party contesting the elections, the Reform Party's Kenneth Jeyaretnam, described his party as having "learnt a lot" and said they had "done very well", as the first new party in over 20 years. He added that the party was "very happy" at its result in West Coast Group Representation Constituency,[51] and that its second team had done "creditably" in Ang Mo Kio Group Representation Constituency. Jeyaretnam also said the team being able to win the votes it did despite being a new party meant that its "core values resonate with the voters".[58]

The worst-performing party at the polls was the Singapore Democratic Alliance, whose secretary-general Desmond Lim polled under 5 percent of votes in Punggol East Single Member Constituency—the only three-way contest of the election—and lost a S$16,000 election deposit. He said voters had voted based on brand name, as the other opposition candidate in the ward was from the WP. The SDA also contested Pasir Ris–Punggol Group Representation Constituency, and Lim said the party was "very happy" at its positive vote swing from 2006 of over 4 percent. However, the SDA's anchorman in the constituency Harminder Pal Singh described the loss as a "time for painful reflection" and said the party would work harder to win more votes.[59]

Foreign reactions[edit]

At an ASEAN heads-of-state meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, leaders of ASEAN nations reportedly told S. Jayakumar, Singapore's representative at the event, that they were "saddened, disappointed and surprised" at the news that foreign minister Yeo had been defeated, according to the state-run Straits Times,[60] while at the same meeting the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Tun Razak, said the PAP's win would mean a continuity in understanding between the Malaysian and Singaporean governments on bilateral issues.[61] The BBC described it as a landmark result.[62]

Non-Constituency Member of Parliament offers[edit]

Three Non-Constituency Members of Parliament (NCMP) seats were offered after the election to the top three losing opposition candidates. The Singapore People's Party accepted the seat for Lina Chiam, ensuring that the Chiam family retained representation in Parliament. While Chiam See Tong has said he is opposed to the scheme, the SPP reasoned that it was "critical" to ensure an "alternative voice in Parliament", to allow the party to "remain engaged in national issues", and to be publicly visible until the next election due by 2016. Mrs Chiam also pointed out that she was "influenced by the wishes of Potong Pasir residents" and she accepted the post as her losing margin was too small.[63]

The Workers' Party was offered the final two NCMP seats for having the second and third best performing losing candidates, which it accepted despite Mr Low also disputing the scheme. Yee Jenn Jong was thus appointed for his performance in Joo Chiat SMC, but as it had to choose one member from the East Coast GRC team, the younger Gerald Giam was chosen over team leader and party treasurer Eric Tan as part of its leadership renewal process. Eric Tan resigned from the party, citing his disagreement with the appointment.[64]

On 16 May 2011, the three proposed NCMPs were formally appointed.[65]


Use of social media[edit]

The election saw a heavier use of social and online media compared to 2006 Singapore general election, especially to evade censorship in Singapore. It is widely perceived by the populace that the major state-run newspapers and broadcasters "align[ed] itself with the party's ideals and decisions" and that the electoral system was tilted against the Opposition.[28] It had been difficult to create alternative media until the rise of sites such as The Online Citizen and such internet tools such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs, which saw increased significance in the 2006 elections but became especially prominent in the 2011 elections. [66] According to The Economist, the PAP's aggressive modernisation of Singapore created "one of the world's most wired societies," leading to new media that "transformed" the electoral scene in Singapore. Characterising the state-run mainstream press as "docile", the Economist also argued that this also forced significantly more news coverage of the Opposition than in previous elections, since the mainstream media feared their readership deserting them.[28] One blogger from CNN wrote, "Thanks to social media, it doesn't matter that the country's largely state-run media leans towards reporting the actions of the PAP, no one's reading anyway.".[66] The Economist however was more cynical in its analysis of the election: "in Singapore, winning 7% of parliamentary seats is tantamount to an opposition triumph".[28]

The first election in which a GRC was won by the Opposition[edit]

Traditionally regarded as a PAP "fortress", a GRC fell to the opposition for the first time in Singapore's political history. In previous elections, the Opposition had never won a GRC, which ostensibly ensure minority representation in parliament but also shut out smaller opposition parties with less resources. GRCs comprise over 86% of the seats, but the Opposition in previous elections would contest "less than half the seats". The election saw the most extensive use of co-ordination to avoid "three-cornered fights" and was also notable for seeing "two veteran MPs" making immense risks by choosing to contest in GRCs rather than their historical SMC strongholds.[28]

Signals to the ruling party[edit]

The election results were widely used in national and international discussions that the population was trying to send a message to a ruling party that "can also come across as smug, arrogant and high-handed" despite a win margin of over 20%, which usually counts as a landslide victory for most democratic nations but has been one of the narrowest margins since 1965.[28] The last election with a similarly narrow victory occurred in the 1963 Singapore general election, when the PAP's major opponent was the Barisan Sosialis—which in itself was a splinter group formed from the leftist wing of the PAP, where it had comprised 80% of the PAP grassroots membership, 35 out of the PAP's 51 branch committees and 19 of its 23 organising secretaries. According to the Economist, Singaporeans would prefer not to have an alternative government but a humbler one, as well as a "stronger opposition".

On 14 May, exactly a week after the election, Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew announced in a joint statement that they would be quitting the country's Cabinet, saying it was time for a "team of younger ministers" to "engage with this young generation in shaping the future of Singapore."[67] In a similar analysis by Bloomberg, the resignations and the ensuing cabinet reshuffle were the actions of a ruling party "seeking to overhaul its image with voters" whose "narrowest election victory on record signaled a shortfall in support among younger voters".[68] Analysts such as Citigroup economist Kit Wei Zheng believed that Minister Lee had contributed to the PAP's poor performance.[69]

Lee Kuan Yew was also quoted as saying that a younger generation was required to "carry Singapore forward in a more difficult and complex situation" while Lee Hsien Loong declared the party "would change the way it governs" and do some "soul-searching". A Singapore Management University professor said "[The PAP] will have to demonstrate that it remains a mass movement, and not [Lee Kuan Yew]’s alter ego," noting that younger Singaporeans do not see Lee Kuan Yew with the same godlike perception as older Singaporeans born before 1980.

Further retirements[edit]

Both losing ministers in Aljunied GRC, George Yeo and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Lim Hwee Hua, announced their retirements from politics in separate news conferences given in the days after the election.[70][71] George Yeo, who remained popular online and continued to have "a flood of support" after the election and had been repeatedly urged to contest the next election, or even contest the 2011 Singaporean presidential election turned his supporters down, declaring, "I'm a free spirit, and I don't think I'm temperamentally suited for such a job."[72]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b 139,771 of the 2,350,873 registered voters were in uncontested constituencies, leaving 2,211,102 voters able to vote.
  2. ^ After the ruling government sued him into bankruptcy, Chee Soon Juan is barred from standing in elections. The SDP was thus led by its assistant secretary-general, John Tan, contesting in Sembawang GRC.


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External links[edit]

Other official information