Rappler Talk: The Lee Kuan Yew effect in Singapore polls?

MANILA, Philippines – In a stunning comeback, Singapore's ruling party scored a landslide victory in the general election on Friday, September 11. The party of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong surprised observers by rolling back the gains of the opposition in the watershed 2011 polls.

The 2015 election was billed as the most competitive contest since Southeast Asia's wealthiest nation gained independence in 1965. Yet the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) overwhelmingly won 83 out of 89 seats in parliament, with the opposition Workers' Party bagging just 6 seats, losing one from the previous election.

The election was historic, the first since the death of PAP stalwart and Singapore's founding father Lee Kuan Yew in March. It coincided with the golden jubilee of Singapore, held just weeks since the grand National Day celebrations.

The outcome defied the expectations of analysts who predicted that the opposition will challenge PAP's 50-year dominance. The results also contradicted the huge turnout in opposition rallies, and social media posts expressing dissatisfaction with PAP. 

What explains the results of Singapore's election? What does the outcome mean for Singapore's economy and democracy? How will the government handle the hot-button issue of immigration and restricting foreign workers?

Rappler talks to Dr Gillian Koh, senior research fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies of Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. Koh discusses the implications of the election on the future of Singapore and Southeast Asia. – Rappler.com