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A defining General Election
23-04-2011, 11:45 AM.
Post: #1
A defining General Election
Apr 23, 2011
A defining General Election

EVERY general election is important. But some general elections are more important than others. It is likely that the 2011 GE will go down in history as among the most crucial Singapore has had since 1959.

To begin with, it will be the last GE that Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew will contest. First elected to the legislature in 1955, when Singapore was still a British colony, Mr Lee is the only one among Singapore's founding leaders still active in politics.

It will also, in all likelihood, be the first GE of the fourth prime minister of Singapore. As the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) has made clear, the core of its 'fourth-generation leadership' will emerge in this GE, and one among them will emerge as the next prime minister 10 or so years from now. The stakes could not be higher for the PAP - or for Singapore.

The PAP first instituted its self-renewal process in the mid-1970s, when MM Lee and his senior colleagues in the first-generation leadership were still in their 50s. It is a famously rigorous system, high on tests, assessments and probing interviews - and low on the kind of savage internecine intra-party tussles that one observes in all the world's major political parties, from the Tories in Britain to the Liberal Democrats in Japan.

Still, nobody can govern in Singapore without the consent of the governed. The PAP's 24 new candidates - half of whom are potential office-holders, according to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong - have not been anointed; they have to win the trust of the people. The PAP's selection process, as well as the candidates themselves and what they stand for, will be subjected to close scrutiny by the electorate - and that is as it should be. The right to leadership is not transferable in Singapore, and each new generation of leaders will have to win anew that right.

The 2011 GE will also be a defining one for the opposition. It has long had difficulty fielding able and qualified people. But some of its candidates this time round have academic credentials that would not have been out of place in the ruling party. Not since 1963 has the opposition put up such a strong slate of candidates. This is for the best. Elections involve choice, and voters would be better off if they had credible candidates on both sides to choose from. Of course, these are early days yet, and we will know in the days to come what the new opposition candidates are made of. It is not enough for them to say 'Vote for me - I'm a scholar', any more than it would be enough for the new PAP candidates to say 'Vote for me - I've been chosen'. The Singaporean voter has always been - and we trust, will remain - a tough assessor.

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25-04-2011, 08:11 PM.
Post: #2
RE: A defining General Election
Davis Polk Partner Challenges Singapore Ruling Party in Election

April 25 (Bloomberg) -- Chen Show-Mao, the head of Wall Street law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell LLPâ€s Beijing office, said he will seek election to Singaporeâ€s parliament as a candidate for the opposition Workers†Party.

“The best way to ensure good governance for Singapore is through the growth of a competitive opposition that offers a credible alternative to the party in government,” Chen, 50, said on his profile on the partyâ€s website today.

Singapore, scheduled to hold its elections on May 7, has been administered by the Peopleâ€s Action Party since 1959, when the city state was still a self-governing British colony. The ruling party, led by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, holds 82 of the 84 elected seats in Parliament and won about 67 percent of votes in the last election in 2006, 8 percentage points lower than the previous poll.

Chen has advised on the record initial public offering of $22.1 billion by Agricultural Bank of China in July and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd.â€s $21 billion initial share sale. ICBC, based in Beijing, is the worldâ€s largest lender by market value.

Chen, who came to Singapore from Taiwan when he was 11 in 1972, according to a July 1986 Straits Times report, was educated at Harvard University, the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, and Stanford Law School. He joined Davis Polk, which has 750 lawyers in nine offices, in its New York head office in 1992 and set up the firmâ€s Beijing office in 2007.
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