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1997 Parliamentary General Election 2nd Jan 1997

The 1997 parliamentary general election was held on 2 January, with nomination day on 23 December 1996. The dates were decided after parliament was dissolved on 16 December.[1] There were 83 parliamentary seats available for contest in this election, of which 74 were from 15 Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs) and 9 from single-member constituencies.[2] Similar to the 1991 general election, the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) was returned to power on nomination day after winning 47 out of the 83 seats in walkovers.[3] The PAP fielded 36 candidates to contest the remaining seats while the six opposition parties fielded a total of 39 candidates. There were 12 candidates from the Singapore Democratic Party, 14 from Workers’ Party, eight from National Solidarity Party, three from Singapore People's Party and two from Democratic Progressive Party. Only one independent candidate contested in the election.[4]

During the nine days  of campaign, the PAP exhorted the people to vote wisely and support the various on-going government programmes, in particular, the upgrading of Housing and Development Board flats.[5] The opposition parties, however, campaigned  the need for a larger opposition representation in parliament so that an alternate voice could be heard.[6]

The PAP enjoyed a resounding victory in the general election by capturing 81 out of the 83 seats, including the opposition-held seats of Nee Soon Central and Bukit Gombak. The party’s share of the valid votes also increased from 61 percent in 1991 to 65 percent in this election.[7] Low Thia Khiang of the Workers’ Party and Chiam See Tong of the Singapore People’s Party managed to retain their wards of Hougang and Potong Pasir respectively.[8] J. B. Jeyaretnam of the Workers’ Party was appointed as a Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP).[9]

1. Chuang, P. M. (1996, December 24).  PAP returned to power, polls on Jan 2. The Business Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Fernandez, W. (1996, November 22). 15 GRCs, 9 single seats for polls. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Fernandez, W. (1996, December 24). PAP is back in power. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. The contests. (1996, December 24). The Business Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Upgrading: PAP sends out open letter to S'poreans. (1996, December 26). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Chua, L. H. (1996, December 31). Alternative voices in parliament: What the record shows. The Straits Times, p. 20. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Fernandez, W. (1997, January 3). Big swing to PAP. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Low increases margin, Chiam's majority cut. (1997, January 3). The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. WP leader Jeyaretnam declared NCMP. (1997, January 15). The Business Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.


The information in this article is valid as at 2011 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

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