Is there a difference between a By-Election and a General Election?
Most certainly! Anyone who’s serious about politics knows that a by-election is held to elect an MP, while a General Election is held to elect a Govt.
So why this continual question whether the Hougang election is about “national” issues or “local” issues?
Isn’t it clear enough? Unless a by-election can affect a ruling party’s 2/3rd majority in Parliament or in some way challenge the authority of a ruling party in Parliament, there is no reason why anyone should look at the big picture when electing his replacement MP.
So if a by-election is definitively different from a General Election, then the strategies, tactics, slogans, messages, etc must also be different from that of a General Election.
PAP has got it down pat– it’s about municipal issues, about electing someone who can best serve the residents, choosing someone who will be there for them.
WP has been vague thus far, saying voters care about both local and national issues, that local vs national issues is not so clean cut, that people still want a voice, etc.
The next nine days will be interesting. Will PAP be able to convince voters to choose a candidate who gives them free porridge? Will WP be able to come up with a message that works for a by-election?
Nine days will tell.