SINGAPORE: The single seat of Punggol East was left vacant after its former People’s Action Party’s (PAP) MP Michael Palmer resigned last month due to an extramarital affair.
His political career was bright, having been appointed as Speaker of Parliament in 2011.
Mr Michael Palmer also helmed the single seat of Punggol East in the last general election, garnering more than half of valid votes.
But exactly four weeks ago, he surprised many by announcing his resignation.
"I have resigned to take full responsibility for a grave mistake that I have committed. I had a relationship with a member of the People’s Association staff working in the Pasir Ris—Punggol GRC. While the individual did not work with me directly, Punggol East used to be part of the GRC and continues to work with it.
"My conduct was improper and it was a serious error of judgement. I have resigned in order to avoid further embarrassment to the PAP and the Parliament," he said at a news conference on 12 December 2012.
Under the Constitution, the Prime Minister is not obliged to call a by—election within any fixed timeframe.
In the interim, the PAP appointed Northeast District mayor Teo Ser Luck as caretaker MP and the opposition parties were quick to pounce.
On 9 January, the writ of election was issued. On 16 January, it was confirmed that the Punggol East by—election on January 26 will be a four—cornered contest.
The candidates are Dr Koh Poh Koon of the PAP, Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam of the Reform Party and Mr Desmond Lim of the Singapore Democratic Alliance, Ms Lee Li Lian of the Workers’ Party.
The Returning Officer, Mr Yam Ah Mee, declared them as candidates on Nomination Day on Wednesday at about 12:40pm after no objections were raised in the half hour after the close of nominations at noon.
31,649 residents in Punggol East will go to the polls on 26 January.
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