Beijing has second thoughts about 'Singapore model'

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Prime Minister Lee Hsien-loong, center, joins hands with some of his candidates as they celebrate victory in the general election in Singapore. /AFP/Mohd Fyrol

By Willy Lam,

It was nothing less than a stunning triumph of people power.

Given the ruling Singapore People’s Action Party’s (PAP) near-total domination of the island republic’s politics since the 1960s, a motley group of poorly funded opposition parties garnered fully 40 percent of the votes during last weekend’s general elections.

Although the PAP managed to win 81 out of the 87 seats in parliament, the party’s share of the ballots fell from 75 percent during the 2006 polls to a mere 60 percent.

Foreign Minister George Yeo, one of the most senior members of Prime Minister Lee Hsien-loong’s cabinet, had to leave politics because he lost his seat to the candidate fielded by the unheralded Worker’s Party, which has emerged as the country’s virtual opposition party.

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