What is special about the Singapore government

New old government in Singapore

"This election is a turning point," said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, whose PAP people's action party again won the parliamentary elections on Saturday (May 7th, 2001). It was able to secure 81 of the 87 seats in parliament, but the share of the vote fell to a historic low of 60 percent. Nevertheless, as it has done for 52 years, the PAP will continue to provide the head of government. According to Lee, this election marks "a major shift in our political landscape" that everyone must adapt to.

This result made the opposition cheer because the tripling of their seats was the best since Singapore gained independence from Malaysia in 1965. The leader of the opposition Labor Party, Low Thia Khiang, described the opposition's six seats as a "breakthrough" for the challengers . A particular success is the fact that Lee's closest confidante, Secretary of State George Yeo, lost his constituency.

The distance between top and bottom grows

Singapore ranks second in Asia in terms of per capita income

There had been resentment in the run-up to the elections. Many of the five million Singaporeans feel that the PAP has been bullied. At least Prime Minister Lee managed to move the city-state out of a recession in 2009 to record growth of 14.5 percent. As a result, Singapore has the highest per capita income in Asia after Japan, but the country's prosperity is not evenly distributed. And according to official statistics, the gap between rich and poor is widening.

Prime Minister Lee is the son of the founder of Singapore. The city-state broke away from Great Britain in 1963 and became independent in 1965 after a temporary union with Malaysia.

Author: Sabine Faber (afp, rtr, dpa)

Editor: Eleonore Uhlich