Should elections be delayed? Or should states press on with them even during a global pandemic?
Singaporeans have been mulling over this since last Friday, when the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee released its report, heralding the start of election season here. The Writ of Election is often issued soon after – within one day of the boundaries report’s release in 2001 and about two months in 2011. Elections are due before April 21, 2021. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who will decide on the timing, has said that the date will depend on what will best see Singapore through the major crisis posed by the coronavirus pandemic. As the Covid-19 outbreak will likely last till the year end, possibly longer, he can wait and hope things get better before holding the polls. Or he can go for earlier elections before things get worse, as many have been warning that they will, despite Singapore’s best efforts to “flatten the curve” of the outbreak, which buys more time for the healthcare system to deal with the crisis.