An elderly Singaporean voter drops her ballot paper in the ballot box. (

Singaporeans are heading to the polls to vote in an election that is widely expected to see the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) stay in power. But for the first time ever, opposition candidates are running in all constituencies, and could gain seats.

It is also the first election since the death of long-term leader Lee Kuan Yew, founder of the ruling People’s Action Party and the prime minister’s father. The PAP has won every election since Singapore’s independence in 1965.

The PAP’s success has been attributed to its widespread popularity among Singaporeans – who have seen their country rapidly evolve into a first-world economy – as well as its tight political control.

But government stumbles in managing immigration and infrastructure, coupled with a greater desire by younger Singaporeans for political plurality, has led to increasing gains by opposition parties over the years.

The PAP’s biggest competition is the Workers Party, which in the last parliament had seven MPs out of 87 seats, but a number of smaller parties are also running. The next parliament will have 89 seats.

In previous elections, the PAP has retained some of its seats without a vote – known as a walkover – as no opposition candidate ran against them. But this year every seat is being contested. (BBC)