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Ruling Party Will Return to Power in Singapore - 2001-10-25

Singapore's ruling party has been returned to power ahead of next week's election, because opposition parties will contest fewer than half the seats in Parliament. The People's Action Party, or PAP, won a 10th term in power Thursday by default. Nominations for Singapore's Parliament closed with the opposition filing candidates for 29 of the 84 seats being contested in the November 3rd general election.

Senior Minister Lee Kwan Yew told a cheering crowd it was obvious the opposition could not mount enough of a challenge to take on the party, which has swept every election since independence in 1965. Fifty-five PAP candidates won their seats unopposed.

The election comes amid Singapore's worst recession in more than 35 years. While the PAP is courting voters with its record, the opposition is calling for a welfare system for the unemployed and measures to help middle-income residents hit by the slowdown.

Critics accuse the PAP of stifling opposition through tight controls on public speech, assembly, and the media