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No by-election if ruling party loses a GRC: PM

April 27, 2011 - 1:33am



WHAT if the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) loses a GRC in the coming election?

Will a by-election be held to retain a minister?

No, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in an interview with Lianhe Zaobao at the Istana on Monday. 

He said: "Once the voters have decided, we have to accept their choice."

He added that although this is the best line-up of candidates that the PAP has fielded, they must still win the support and affirmation of the voters.

PM Lee also pointed out that the political climate has changed. 

Netizens have a stronger alternative voice now and former high-ranking civil servants have joined the opposition parties, he said.

Yet PM Lee believes that the activities in the "human world" are more important than those in cyberspace. 

The reason: If voters can meet a candidate in person, shake his hand, have a chat, they will have a deeper impression of him, he said.

That's why the PAP candidates spend much effort in  grassroots works, said PM Lee. "Otherwise, all they have to do is to set up a web page."

He also said that having more voices in the Parliament is a positive development because in this fast-changing era, it is not possible for the Government to have the perfect solution to every problem.

So the Government has to serve the country by gathering valuable insights and suggestions from multiple sources, he said.

He said it is hard to predict the outcome of bolstering the Non-Constituency MP scheme because this depends on whether voters will vote in more MPs from the opposition parties.

"This is the message that we are sending across to the voters: You should vote for the candidate and the party that you have confidence in.

"Vote for the one who can serve you best. No matter how you vote, the Parliament will definitely have at least nine opposition MPs. You don't have to worry that the Parliament will be one-sided."

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