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    Sep 17, 2015

    WP has no say in who fills vacant NCMP seat

    THE Elections Department (ELD) has declared three Workers' Party (WP) candidates - Lee Li Lian, Dennis Tan, and Leon Perera - elected as Non-Constituency MPs (NCMPs).

    But Ms Lee will not be taking up the offer, a decision supported by the party's leadership.

    The WP now hopes the slot goes to another of its candidates. But the call is not the WP's to make.

    In the absence of Ms Lee taking up the offer, the decision on the third NCMP seat rests with Parliament.

    Responding to queries on the question, an ELD spokesman said yesterday that the Attorney-General's view is that if any NCMP who is declared to be elected "fails to take and subscribe before Parliament the Oath of Allegiance under Article 61 of the Constitution" at the first or second sitting of Parliament after the General Election, "then Parliament may at its discretion declare that seat vacant".

    "Parliament is not thereafter obliged to declare that seat be filled by the next succeeding candidate," the spokesman added.

    Ms Lee, 37, was MP for Punggol East after winning a 2013 by-election. But she lost the seat last Friday after polling 48.2 per cent against the People's Action Party's (PAP's) Charles Chong.

    Mr Tan, 45, who contested in Fengshan against the PAP's Cheryl Chan, got 42.5 per cent of the vote.

    The WP's East Coast Group Representation Constituency (GRC) team which comprised Mr Perera, 44, Gerald Giam, 37, Daniel Goh, 42 and Mohamed Fairoz Shariff, 36, got 39.3 per cent of the vote in their loss to the PAP team.

    The ELD said yesterday that the Returning Officer, Ng Wai Choong, wrote to the party's East Coast GRC candidates on Tuesday asking them to determine among themselves who would take up the NCMP seat. The group replied yesterday that they were nominating Mr Perera.

    But the WP released a statement of its own shortly after, saying it was putting Dr Goh up for consideration "should Parliament resolve to fill the vacated NCMP seat left by Ms Lee".