In a move that signals the approach of General Elections in Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says that the Election Boundaries Review Committee was formed 2 months ago. He added that he has asked the Committee to have smaller Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs), and to have at least 12 Single Member Constituencies (SMCs).

“As per past practice, the committee is chaired by the Secretary to the Prime Minister. It is now in the midst of its deliberations and will make its recommendations to me when ready,” he said.

The committee reviews and draws up boundaries for election, and submits a report with its recommendations. The report, when released by the committee, is seen as one of the clearest signals that a General Election (GE) is around the corner. Singapore’s next GE must be held by January 2017.

What usually happens before a General Election?

1. Electoral Boundaries Review Committee formed and submits report with recommendations on electoral boundary changes. In the 2006 and 2011 GEs, the committee took about four months after being convened to issue reports.

2. The Prime Minister would advise the President to dissolve Parliament. Once dissolved, the GE must be held within three months. In the last GE, the committee’s report was issued on Feb 24, 2011, and Parliament was dissolved on Apr 19, 2011.

3. The President, acting on the Prime Minister’s advice, issues a Writ of Election. This will specify the date and location for the nomination of candidates.

4. Nomination Day, when prospective candidates submit their nomination papers, must take place between five days and one month after the Writ of Election is issued.

5. Polling Day must be held between 10 and 56 days after the Returning Officer publishes the Notice of Contested Elections after Nomination Day. For the 2011 GE, Cooling-Off Day, on the eve of Polling Day, was introduced, when candidates are banned from campaigning. This was instituted to give voters time to reflect and make their decision before going to the polls.

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