S'pore opposition says 20 years away from government-paper

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SINGAPORE, Oct 31 (Reuters) A Singapore opposition leader said it would take at least 20 years before his party can challenge the ruling party's parliamentary dominance and serve as an alternate government, local media said today.

''I don't think the Workers' Party can challenge PAP's (People's Action Party) standards in the near term. For us to become an alternate government is a faraway target ... maybe in 20 years,'' Workers' Party leader Low Thia Khiang told Chinese newspaper Lianhe Zaobao in an interview.

At the last election in May 2006, the Workers' Party won 16.3 per cent of votes, giving Low one of two opposition seats in the 84-seat parliament. The PAP, which has been in power for four decades, won 82 seats with 66.6 per cent of the votes cast.

Low said that, unlike opposition parties in Western countries, his party does not have enough resources to provide alternative solutions for every decision that the PAP makes.

He said the Workers' Party lacks the kind of access to resources that the PAP has when drawing up policies and plans, such as the city state's civil service and top-notch scholars.

Low said the Workers' Party's role is to suggest improvements to the policies made by the government.

REUTERS SYU SSC1403

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