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Robin Chan
Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014

Singapore

Coalition govt was not on my mind: PM Lee

The Straits Times | Robin Chan | Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014

SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has clarified that the possibility of Singapore having a coalition government was not what he had in mind when he was interviewed by the Financial Times.

What he meant was that there could be a day when the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) is no longer dominant.

But to think that therefore, instead of that, Singapore would have a "stable two-party system is naive", he wrote in a Facebook post yesterday.

In the FT interview published last Saturday, which has been widely shared online, FT chief foreign affairs columnist Gideon Rachman wrote that "PM Lee hints that the PAP is beginning to consider the possibility of one day forming a coalition government".

He then quotes PM Lee as saying: "It may not be one team in, one team out, it may be more complicated - you're getting used to more complicated than that in Britain now."

But in his Facebook post, PM Lee sought to clarify that what he meant was that he could imagine a situation in the future where the PAP is not dominant, but that he had no idea how that would work, "or whether it could be made to work at all".

"To think that instead of PAP dominance we will have a stable two-party system is naive," he said.

"Just look at the UK today - even there the two-party system is no longer what it was. A coalition government for Singapore was not on my mind."

He posted this reply after his press secretary had received queries from some journalists on whether he was really thinking about a coalition government, he added.

PM Lee sat for the interview when he visited London last month. Over lunch, he spoke on a wide range of topics including Ukraine, the Japanese Occupation of Singapore and his use of social media.

chanckr@sph.com.sg

This article was published on April 14 in The Straits Times.

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