Politicians hit the pavement in Singapore a week before polls open for the 2015 parliamentarian election. Julie Noce reports.
Donned in their party's traditional white pants and shirts, ministers of Singapores' ruling People's Action Party sat down with constituents at a hawker center to listen to their concerns. The party has ruled the island nation since it gained independence 50 years ago. Under the iron-handed rule of founding father Lee Kuan Yew, who died earlier this year, Western-style welfarism was scorned. But analysts say the PAP is moving towards a more populist agenda including more social spending to court younger voters, and an acceptance of a two or more party system. Opposition parties, for their part, seized upon some voters complaints of a widening wage gap and an increase of foreign workers. (SOUNDBITE) (English/Mandarin) WORKERS' PARTY CANDIDATE, DANIEL GOH SAYING: "Many Singaporeans have been thrown overboard by the flood and are treading water just to keep alive, afraid to die, (but) what can we do?" Voters are generally supportive of the ruling party, but some say the PAP does need to keep themselves in check to build back up their slipping 60 percent approval rating. SOUNDBITE) (English) FINANCE INDUSTRY EMPLOYEE, MS. TEO SAYING: "...they shouldn't be thinking that they are the best in the world and probably sometimes they need to take a step back and really look at things from a different perspective." All of the 89 parliament seats are up for re-election this year. Polls open on Friday.