SINGAPORE: A Bill will be tabled to set out contingency plans to ensure the safety of people should the next General Election take place during the COVID-19 outbreak, said the Elections Department (ELD) on Friday (Apr 3).
“The health and safety of voters, candidates and election officials is paramount to us,” said the ELD “in response to media queries on the Parliamentary Elections (COVID-19 Special Arrangements) Bill”.
The next General Election will have to be held by Apr 14, 2021, when the term of the 13th Parliament comes to an end.
“In view of the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation, ELD must make contingency plans to put in place precautionary measures to ensure a safe election, should the next GE take place amid the COVID-19 situation,” said the department.
The Bill, it added, contains the “necessary legislative provisions” to allow the Elections Department to implement temporary arrangements to ensure the safety of voters, candidates and election officials.
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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said that the timing of the next General Election depends “on the situation, and the outlook” of the pandemic.
“We have two choices. Either hope and pray that things will stabilise before the end of the term so that we can hold elections under more normal circumstances – but we have no certainty of that,” he wrote on Mar 14
“Or else call elections early, knowing that we are going into a hurricane, to elect a new government with a fresh mandate and a full term ahead of it, which can work with Singaporeans on the critical tasks at hand.”
His comments came a day after changes to the electoral boundaries were announced by the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) on Mar 13.
CNA has asked the Elections Department when the Bill will be tabled, and on the details of the proposed Bill.