Writ for Hougang by-election issued in Singapore
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Writ for Hougang by-election issued in Singapore

Residents of the Hougang Single-Member Constituency (SMC) will soon have a chance to elect a new Member of Parliament. The position has been left vacant since the Workers’ Party expelled Yaw Shin Leong after allegations of extra-marital affairs.

After the writ was issued, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong posted a note on his Facebook page, saying

The by-election will give Hougang residents the chance to elect a new MP to serve them. I encourage Hougang voters to use this opportunity wisely, to elect the best candidate with commitment and integrity: someone they can rely upon to express their hopes and concerns, address their needs, and make a real difference to their lives.

Nomination Day has been set on May 16, with Polling Day following in 10 days’ time. Incidentally May 16 is also supposed to be the day the Court of Appeal hears the Attorney-General Chambers’ (AGC) appeal against an open-court hearing on the Prime Minister’s discretion in choosing when to hold a by-election. The court is also due to hear the summons of Miss Vellama Marie Muthu – who lodged the original affidavit – to strike out the AGC’s appeal on the same day.

Singaporeans are now speculating as to who will be standing for elections, and whether other alternative parties will be looking to contest the ward. The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has already released a statement saying that it will not be contesting in Hougang SMC. The National Solidarity Party has also announced that it will not be contesting. It is likely that the People’s Action Party will field Desmond Choo, who lost to Yaw Shin Leong in last year’s election.

In February 2012, The Online Citizen asked political parties if they were likely to stand for elections. The Singapore People’s Party said they would be unlikely to stand in Hougang SMC.

Individuals who previously expressed an interest in contesting the seat are Tan Jee Say, who stood as an SDP candidate in the 2011 General Election and as a presidential candidate later that year, and Frankie Low, who stood as a Reform Party candidate in the 2011 General Election.