Singaporean general election, 1991

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Singaporean general election, 1991
1988 ←
31 August 1991 → 1997

81 seats to the Parliament of Singapore

Only 40 seats contested; 41 seats needed for a majority

Turnout 95.0%
  First party Second party Third party
  GohChokTong-WashingtonDC-20010614.jpg ChiamSeeTong-SDARally-20060502.jpg JoshuaBenjaminJeyaretnam-Singapore-20051107-cropped.jpg
Leader Goh Chok Tong Chiam See Tong J.B. Jeyaretnam
Leader since 1990 (as prime minister) 1980 1971
Leader's seat Marine Parade GRC Potong Pasir SMC Did not contest
Last election 80 seats, 63.2% 1 seat, 12.0% 0 seats, 16.7%
Seats won 77 3 1
Seat change Decrease3 Increase2 Increase1
Popular vote 477,760 93,856 112,010
Percentage 61.0% 12.0%(total) / 48.6%(valid) 14.3%(total) / 41.1%(valid)
Swing Decrease2.2% Increase0.2%/Increase9.1% Decrease2.4%/Increase2.6%

Prime Minister before election

Goh Chok Tong

Elected Prime Minister

Goh Chok Tong

Coat of arms of Singapore (blazon).svg
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General elections were held in Singapore on 31 August 1991. The result was a victory for the People's Action Party, which won 77 of the 81 seats. Voter turnout was 95.0%, although this figure represents the turnout in the 25 constituencies to be contested,[1] with PAP candidates earning walkovers in the other 41.


This was Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong's first election as leader of the PAP after Lee Kuan Yew stepped down in 1990. PM Goh decided to call a snap election merely three years after the last GE, setting Parliament's shortest term ever, to court a fresh mandate. However, it lost an unprecedented four seats, the biggest number since the 1963 GE, and its share of votes fell for the third consecutive time since 1984. The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) added two more spoils to the seat retained successfully by leader Chiam See Tong, becoming the main opposition party in Parliament. Eight out of nine SDP candidates came in among the top ten opposition candidates. The Workers' Party of Singapore (WP) made its second in-road into the legislature with the victory of its organising secretary Low Thia Khiang, who would years later become WP secretary-general and leader.

At a post-election press conference on the night of 31 August, PM Goh glumly attributed the loss to his "open and consultative style of government" and pledged to re-evaluate his style. Sizes of Group Representation Constituencies were increased from three to four seats each. Since the introduction of the Non-Constituency Member of Parliament scheme in 1984, this was the first GE with no NCMP seats offered as the four opposition seats exceeded the minimum of three NCMP seats allotted. Therefore, the narrow defeat of WP's Eunos GRC team, helmed by Dr Lee Siew Choh again, did not see to Dr Lee's return as NCMP. This was his final legislature and electoral presence as he resigned from WP and retired from politics in 1993. The maximum of six Nominated MPs were appointed for this term, up from two Nominated MPs previously.

Changes to seats[edit]

Existing GRCs[edit]

Another group of changes were necessary as it increased from 3 to 4. Some of them are in the basis of expansion due to the fast growth of towns.

New GRCs[edit]

  • Ang Mo Kio GRC was formed from Ang Mo Kio SMC, Teck Ghee SMC, Yio Chu Kang SMC and Kebun Baru SMC.
  • Kampong Glam GRC was formed from Cairnhill SMC, Kampong Glam SMC, Kim Seng SMC and Moulmein SMC.
  • Tanjong Pagar GRC was formed from Tanjong Pagar SMC, Telok Blangah SMC, and some from Tiong Bahru GRC.
  • Thomson GRC was formed from Thomson SMC and Serangoon Gardens SMC.

Division removals[edit]

  • Alexandra (merged into Brickworks)
    Tan Soo Khoon was shifted to Kampong Chai Chee.
  • Henderson (merged into Queenstown)
    Chng Hee Kok was shifted to Changkat South.
  • Pasir Panjang (merged into Telok Blangah)
    Abbas bin Abu Amin retired.
  • Tanah Merah (merged into Siglap)
    Ibrahim bin Othman was shifted to Bishan North.
  • Whampoa (merged into Kallang)
    Augustine Tan retired.

New divisions[edit]

The newer divisions are those because of developments of Simei, Jurong West, Bishan and Pasir Ris respectively.

  • Bishan East (from Serangoon Gardens)
  • Bishan North (from Thomson)
  • Changkat South (from Changkat)
  • Hong Kah West (from Hong Kah South)
  • Pasir Ris (from Tampines North)

New candidates[edit]

Retiring candidates[edit]


Party Votes % Seats +/-
People's Action Party 477,760 61.0 77 -3
Workers' Party 112,010 14.3 1 +1
Singapore Democratic Party 93,856 12.0 3 +2
National Solidarity Party 57,306 7.3 0 0
Singapore Justice Party 15,222 1.9 0 0
Singapore Malay National Organisation 12,862 1.6 0 0
Independents 14,596 1.9 0 0
Invalid/blank votes 21,961 - - -
Total 805,573 100 81 0
Source: Nohlen et al.


  1. ^ Nohlen, D, Grotz, F & Hartmann, C (2001) Elections in Asia: A data handbook, Volume II, p255 ISBN 0-19-924959-8