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Singapore

Opposition hope for gains in Singapore election

AFP/Roslan Rahman

The island state of Singapore holds a general elections Saturday with opposition parties hoping to reduce the government's overwhelming majority.

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The ruling People's Action Party (PAP) has been in power since 1959 and won 67 per cent of the vote and 82 of 84 seats in the 2006 election. But it faces voter discontent about the rising cost of living and a rise in immigration.

Six opposition parties are fighting the PAP, which has issued a rare apology for policy mistakes and an appeal for support from new voters.

With voting compulsory, close to half of Singapore's 2.2 million voters will cast their ballots for the first time ever, due to uncontested seats in past elections.

The opposition, which faces tough restrictions on political activity such as public assembly and news media sympathetic to the PAP, has relied heavily on the internet, using social media such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
 

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