Although, the last General Elections in 2011 cannot be seen to be indicative of how election results would be in 2015, there is some basic insight that we get as to which are the likely seats that will be hotly contested between the PAP and the opposition parties.
I have, in a previous piece, highlighted the constituencies that resulted in a vote share of less than 60% and analysed the likelihood of a swing. I wrote that piece before the boundary changes. These are the constituencies with the lowest vote shares for the PAP:
Potong Pasir SMC – 50.36%
Joo Chiat SMC – 51%
East Coast GRC (5 seats) – 54.8%
Marine Parade GRC (5 seats) – 56.6%
Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC (5 seats) – 56.93%
Tampines GRC (5 seats) – 57.2%
Nee Soon GRC (5 seats) – 58.4%
Sengkang West SMC – 58.1%
Moulmein-Kallang GRC (4 seats) – 58.55%
Mounbatten SMC – 58.62%
The Electoral Boundary changes mean that Moulmein-Kallang will not be in existence and it will be amalgamated into a new Jalan Besar GRC which will include Whampoa and parts of Tanjong Pagar GRC. It is hard to predict which way this new GRC would go. Whampoa was a safe 66% for the PAP and Tanjong Pagar GRC has been uncontested since time immemorial. Together with Tanjong Pagar GRC, I would count Jalan Besar GRC as an unpredictable constituency where anything could happen.
Sengkang West SMC has had some areas absorbed into Ang Mo Kio GRC. If conventional wisdom is to be accepted, the incumbent would have carved out the opposition leaning areas in Sengkang and absorbed those into Ang Mo Kio. Sengkang West could have become somewhat safe for the PAP. I’m going to keep Sengkang in the less probable category if we are considering whether the opposition will be able to take it.
Joo Chiat has been absorbed into Marine Parade GRC and Marine Parade will continue to be vulnerable to the opposition because of the margin in the last elections.
The new MacPherson SMC is bound to be vulnerable as well. It was carved out of Marine Parade GRC.
Fengshan is another SMC that was carved out of a weak GRC (i.e. East Coast GRC) and I believe that this makes Fengshan another battleground constituency. It is entirely possible that Fengshan is a weak constituency that has been carved out in order not to affect the rest of East Coast GRC.
Based on the above assessment, the constituencies that we need to keep a look out for as key battlegrounds would be the following:
Potong Pasir SMC – contested by SPP
East Coast GRC – contested by WP
Fengshan SMC – contested by WP
Marine Parade GRC – contested by WP
MacPherson GRC – contested by WP
Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC – contested by the SPP-DPP alliance
Tampines GRC – contested by NSP
Nee Soon GRC – contested by WP
Mounbatten SMC – contested by SPP
Jalan Besar GRC and Tanjong Pagar GRC could turn out to be hotly contested as well. Jalan Besar is being contested by WP and Tanjong Pagar by SingFirst.
With NSP announcing today that it will not contest Marine Parade and MacPherson and Singfiirst announcing that it will not contest Ang Mo Kio, there will be no 3 cornered fights in this GE. It looks set to be the first general elections after a long time that all seats get to be contested. Of course, anything can happen on nomination day.
As PAP will be fighting hard to win back the WP held constituencies, we’d have to include them as key battleground constituencies as well.
How many seats are at stake in the main battleground constituencies (including Jalan Besar, Tanjong Pagar and the opposition wards)? 6 SMCs + 2 Four-seat GRCs + 5 Five-seat GRCs
That’s 39 seats out of the 89 seats that will represent the best chance for the opposition to make a dent on the PAP’s dominance in Parliament. Looks like WP will feature prominently in the key election battles.