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Last Updated: Saturday, 6 May 2006, 18:40 GMT 19:40 UK
Singapore ruling party wins polls
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at a voting station
The polls were the first electoral test for Singapore's prime minister
Singapore's ruling party has been returned to power in general elections, official results show.

The People's Action Party (PAP) won 82 out of 84 seats in the nation's parliament, the same as in previous polls in 2001.

The poll was the first electoral test for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong since his appointment in August 2004.

He faced an opposition that for the first time contested more than half the constituencies in the city-state.

In the last vote, in 2001, only a third of voters were offered a choice of candidate, with the opposition fielding hopefuls for 29 seats.

But this time the main opposition parties - the Workers' Party (WP), the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) and the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) - together contested 47 seats.

'Not surprised'

Official results showed that the ruling party won 45 of the contested seats, which it added to the 37 uncontested seats. The party took 66% of the popular vote, 9% down on the 2001 polls.

"We have a lot of work ahead of us," Mr Lee told his supporters after the victory was announced.

Opposition leaders said they were not surprised by the ruling party win.

Singapore's People's Action Party supporters at a rally

"We are not thinking that we are going to overthrow the government overnight," said a candidate from the Workers' Party, Glenda Han.

But she said people were "sitting up and looking at the opposition in a more positive light".

The two veteran opposition MPs retained their seats despite a ruling party effort to dislodge them, AFP news agency said.

The governing People's Action Party (PAP) had campaigned on what it called its strong record on economic growth and social stability. It has ruled Singapore since independence in 1965.

However, opposition groups, who had been attracting increasing support, had insisted the gap between rich and poor in Singapore was increasing.

More than one million people were eligible to vote in a country where voting is mandatory.

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