SINGAPORE ELECTIONS: MIXED MESSAGES
The PAP is back in power and Mr Lee Hsien Loong has won his mandate, but victory has come at a cost to his political capital. Unfortunately, the PAP seems to know only one way to fight elections. That unchanged style is at odds with its approach outside of elections, which is increasingly about inclusiveness and respect for diversity. In fact, it may be precisely because Singaporeans bought into the new PM’s new vision that they found it hard to swallow the PAP’s old-style election rhetoric. Notably, its upgrading-for-votes gambit was not just unpalatable but also ultimately ineffective – a lose-lose proposition. Mr Lee had built up a tremendous stock of goodwill since he became PM, but the PAP drew down on those reserves in a campaign that was unnecessarily divisive. As the party of national unity, the PAP must now put the polls behind it and get back on message.