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Singapore Prime Minister Hopes for Landslide Win in Elections


Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is hoping his ruling Peoples Action Party will win a landslide victory in Saturday's elections in a vote that is being seen as a test of the popularity of his two year leadership.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong appeared confident as polls closed Saturday after more than 1.2 million Singaporeans cast their ballots.

Mr. Lee urged Singaporeans to give him a strong mandate. He says he believes the long ruling People's Action Party was able to reach the voters.

"We've got our message across to voters that this election is about our future," he said. "And I think voters understand that the people they choose are the ones who will help them win, help Singapore win."

But opposition parties urged voters not to give PAP a clean sweep. For the first time in nearly two decades the opposition was able to field 47 candidates, denying PAP a walk over at the polls.

PAP currently holds 82 out of 84 parliament seats and has been the dominant party since Singapore became independent in 1965.

While no one doubts a PAP victory in Saturday's polls, analysts say they must win by at least 61 percent to give Mr. Lee a strong mandate.

A win below 61 percent, as happened in 1991, when the opposition won four seats, would be an embarrassment for Mr. Lee. It was PAP's worst showing ever.

Deputy Prime Minister Wong Ken Seng says this election is important for everyone.

"This prime minister will lead Singapore into the next decadeā€¦ so this election is about voting for the right group of people that will lead you into the future," he said.

Singaporeans enjoy a high standard of living and are used to the government providing for their basic needs such as housing, education, and medical care.

But those benefits come at a price. The government strictly controls the media, the Internet, does not allow satellite dishes, and restricts freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.