SDP pullout means closer fight between WP, PAP: analysts

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Game on.

That's the message from analysts Yahoo! Singapore spoke to when asked about their reaction to the Singapore Democratic Party's shock withdrawal from the Punggol race on Tuesday.

"The dynamics have certainly now changed," said political analyst and former Nominated Member of Parliament Siew Kum Hong.

"While the multi-cornered fight will still probably impact the WP's vote share, it is now much closer to a straight fight between the WP and the PAP, and Lee Li Lian has a credible chance of winning," he said.

Siew was referring to the decision earlier in the day by Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) to field Desmond Lim  in Punggol come Polling Day on 26 January.

While Reform Party's Kenneth Jeyaretnam has also stated he will contest in Punggol, Siew believes their participation may not skew too much from what's expected to be a contest between serious contenders People's Action Party (Koh Poh Koon) and Workers' Party (Lee Li Lian).

"SDA will almost certainly not improve on their vote share; if anything, those who had voted for them in GE2011 may vote differently this time, since they now know that SDA will not win," he said.

"RP may draw some votes, but will likely have less of an impact on voting patterns than the SDP would have had.

Fellow political observer and
Nominated Member of Parliament Eugene Tan agreed.

"SDP's pull-out does marginally improve WP's prospect of taking the seat away from the PAP. SDP was more likely to draw voters away from WP than SDA or RP," the assistant law professor at Singapore Management University told Yahoo! Singapore.

He also warned SDA's Lim and RP's Kenneth Jeyaretnam they would be "sleepwalking into a major loss -- not just in terms of vote count but in terms of the standing of the party and the candidate."

"The likelihood of them losing their electoral deposits in the process is very real too," he added.

Lim
came in third in the three-way fight for the ward in the 2011 General Election.

He came in with 4.45 per cent of the vote and was the only candidate that year to forfeit his S$16,000 election deposit.

Punggol East, a single member constituency with slightly over 31,000 voters goes to the polls on 26 Jan.


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