Singapore to go for general elections on May 7

Singapore: Singapore President S R Nathan on Tuesday dissolved parliament to pave the way for general elections in the country on May 7, with influx of foreign workers likely to be key issue in the polls.

"The President on the advice of the Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has dissolved the parliament on Tuesday, April 19, 2011," an official statement issued from the Prime Minister`s Office said.

More than 2.31 million Singaporeans would be voting in the next general elections, with April 27 being fixed as the last date for nominations.

The last general elections in the island nation where held in May 2006 in which Lee`s party won all but two of the 84 parliamentary seats, but its share of popular vote has been sliding. The number of seats has gone up to 87.

The ruling People`s Action Party would be challenged by six political parties and political analysts say the PAP would retain power.

Singapore`s economy unlike the West has rebounded strongly from the 2009 meltdown to post Asia`s strongest growth rate of 14.5 per cent in 2010.

The issues during elections include cost of living, minimum wages for older workers, surging prices of state-built apartments housing 85 per cent of the population, the income gap between lower income and higher income groups, job security, medical expenses, the greater need for public accountability and more control on the inflow of foreign talent.

Singapore is admired globally for its speedy rise from a third world nation to one of the Asia`s richest nation in just 30 years, but there is vocal opposition to restrictions imposed on political freedom.

Lee, 59, is son of a former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew and would be leading the PAP for the second time since taking office in 2004.

According to local media reports, Singaporeans remain concern about job loss to foreigners, who, the government said, were important to keep up the fast pace growth of the city state`s economy, depending on global trade, commerce, and markets, said the observers.