Politics 1 Comment
The third general election for the Legislative Assembly was a lively and closely-fought affair, with several new political parties joining the fray. This was the first GE for a fully elected legislature after negotiations between the British and Singapore lawmakers to allow Singapore self-government concluded successfully.
There were 51 constituencies for the taking. The old Assembly was dissolved in 31 March 1959, Nomination day was 25 April 1959 and Polling day on 30 May 1959. Electorate was 586,098 and for the first time, voting was compulsory, thus the 527,919 (92.9%) voter turnout. It saw up to seven-corner contests, PAP won a landslide victory but refused to take office until six of their members detained by the Special Branch were released – they were former AM Lim Chin Siong, C. V. Devan Nair, Chan Chiaw Thor, Fong Swee Suan, James Puthucheary and Sydney Woodhull, all who were unionists.
The central executive committee of PAP met and voted leader Lee Kuan Yew over Ong Eng Guan, by just one vote to Lee’s favour) to become the first Prime Minister of Singapore.