Singaporean general election, 1955

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Singaporean general election, 1955
Flag of Singapore (1946-1959).svg
← 1951 2 April 1955 1959 →

25 (of the 32) seats to the Legislative Assembly
  First party Second party Third party
  Lee Kuan Yew cropped.jpg
Leader David Marshall Tan Chye Cheng Lee Kuan Yew
Leader's seat Cairnhill Cairnhill (defeated) Tanjong Pagar
Last election Did not contest 6 seats, 45.4% Did not contest
Seats won 10 4 3
Seat change New Decrease2 New
Popular vote 42,300 38,695 13,634
Percentage 27.1% 24.8% 8.7
Swing New Decrease20.6% New

Chief Minister before election

Newly created

Resulting Chief Minister

David Marshall

Coat of arms of Singapore (blazon).svg
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General elections were held in Singapore on 2 April 1955 to elect the 25 elected seats in the Legislative Assembly. Nomination day was on 28 February 1955.


Following the promulgation of the Rendel Constitution, the 1955 elections were the first occasion on which a majority of the seats were to be elected rather than be appointed by the colonial authorities. The new constitution was written after recommendations by a committee to grant local citizens more autonomy, headed by George Rendel, were passed.

According to the new Constitution, locals would share executive power with the colonial authorities and there would be a Chief Minister among elected legislators. The number of elected seats was increased to 25, with the British government appointing the remaining seven members.

The Governor of Singapore and Colonial Secretary posts were replaced by a Chief Secretary, who inherited the power to appoint four nominated Assembly Members. Also scrapped were the seats of the Solicitor-General, two directors, two ex-officios, the three commercial organisations and the City Council representative.


For the first time, political parties were permitted to adopt a standard party symbol for all their candidates and independents to select theirs instead of balloting for them. The Progressive Party, representing the English-speaking bourgeois and Democratic Party fielded the largest number of candidates each. The Malay Union, the United Malays National Organisation and the Malayan Chinese Association ran together as the Singapore Alliance after leaving the three-party Labour Front (LF) alliance, which had consolidated into a single party.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party was a spent force as both AMs had left the party, with one moving to LF and one going independent. A seat was earlier vacated due to the demise of PP's popular C. J. P. Paglar, who died from a stroke.


To the chagrin of the British, who had anticipated a PP victory and its leader, Tan Chye Cheng, to emerge as Chief Minister, it was the Labour Front that garnered the most seats and its chairman, David Marshall, thus became Singapore's first Chief Minister. Although the Labour Front was the largest winning party, it did not have the 13 seats to command a majority in the Legislative Assembly. As a result, Marshall had to seek a coalition with the Singapore Alliance which had collected three seats.

In its first elections, the newly formed People's Action Party, led by lawyer and former Progressive Party election agent Lee Kuan Yew, chose to field only a handful of candidates to protest against the Rendel Constitution and became the main opposition party after winning nearly all its contested seats.

Party Votes % Seats +/–
Labour Front 42,300 27.1 10 New
Progressive Party 38,695 24.8 4 –2
Democratic Party 32,115 20.5 2 New
People's Action Party 13,634 8.7 3 New
Malayan Chinese Association (SA) 6,203 4.0 1 New
United Malays National Organisation (SA) 5,721 3.7 1 New
Labour Party 1,325 0.8 0 –2
Malay Union (SA) 1,233 0.8 1 New
Independents 15,098 9.7 3 +2
Invalid/blank votes 1,751
Total 158,075 100 25 +16
Registered voters/turnout 300,199 52.7
Source: Singapore Elections

See also[edit]


  • Sr, Pugalenthi (1996) Elections in Singapore VJ Times International Pte Ltd, Singapore ISBN 981-221-025-3

External links[edit]