Polling Day commences for 31,600 voters in Punggol East

SINGAPORE: Punggol East residents will head to the polls on Friday, Polling Day, as Singapore marks its second by-election in eight months.

Some 31,600 voters in Singapore and 59 voters overseas will cast their votes in a four-cornered fight for the single member constituency (SMC).

The Punggol East single member seat fell vacant in December 2012 when former Speaker of Parliament and MP for the ward Michael Palmer resigned over an extramarital affair.

A writ of election was issued by President Tony Tan on 9 January 2013, declaring 16 January as Nomination Day and 26 January as Polling Day.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said at the announcement of the by-election that he wanted to give Punggol East residents their own MP in Parliament before Singapore focused back on its "busy national agenda". This includes the upcoming White Paper on population, the Budget 2013 debate and the Our Singapore Conversation project.

Voters issued with poll cards are reminded to bring their identity card or passport for verification at polling stations. Their poll card will indicate the polling station nearest to their home, at which they would cast their vote.

Polling stations will be open from 8am until 8pm.

The four candidates contesting the Punggol East by-election are Dr Koh Poh Koon from the People's Action Party, Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam from the Reform Party, Mr Desmond Lim Bak Chuan from the Singapore Democratic Alliance and Ms Lee Li Lian from the Workers' Party.

Mr Lim and Ms Lee contested Punggol East SMC in the 2011 General Election but lost to PAP's Michael Palmer.

The Returning Officer for the by-election is Mr Yam Ah Mee.

Results are expected after 10pm on Friday.

A special by-election programme will be aired on Channel NewsAsia from 9pm Singapore/Hong Kong time.

- CNA/jc

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