According to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, at least 45 countries and territories have made a decision to hold national or subnational elections since late February despite concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, while at least 67 countries have postponed their polls.
Friday's voting had been marred after long queues formed outside polling stations due to the need to undergo virus checks, prompting election officials to extend voting by two hours.
It marked a decline in the PAP's performance from 2015 polls when it took 93 per cent of seats and almost 70 per cent of the total vote.More news: Dr. Fauci doesn't weigh 'whole national interest,' coronavirus task force member says
"We (PAP) have obtained a clear mandate; 61 per cent of the popular vote. Worst seat performance and loss of popular vote in an election that they called early in a pandemic mistakenly thinking the crisis would help them", Bridget Welsh, honorary research associate at Malaysia's University of Nottingham told The Associated Press news agency.
The Opposition Workers' Party - led by Indian-origin leader Pritam Singh - won 10 seats, including the GRC of Sengkang where it defeated the PAP's team led by Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Ng Chee Meng.
Some opposition parties slammed the move as irregular and warned it might compromise the election's integrity. The Election Department earlier dropped a requirement that disposable gloves be worn during voting to cut waiting time.
Retiree Dennis Phua said the election should not have been rushed since the PAP's five-year mandate would have continued until next April.
He acknowledged that citizens, especially the younger generation, want more opposition voices in Parliament.More news: Two Police Officers Shot Dead in Southern Texas
"I hope that it will remain as the status quo". She praised the government for putting in place strict measures to protect voters.
Lee, who is the country's third prime minister since 2004, faced new pressure when his estranged younger brother joined an opposition party last month.
He assured that the ruling party will listen to Singaporeans and do its best to address their concerns, and "try to win" their support, whether or not they voted for the PAP.
Singapore's election follows polls in Serbia and Mongolia last month and in South Korea in April, when governing parties in all three countries scored resounding victories.
While they still look far from winning power, Workers' Party supporters nevertheless started celebrating in one of the party's strongholds, cheering and waving flags. Lee's government has unveiled several economic assistance packages totaling almost 100 billion Singapore dollars ($71.7 billion) but warned the economic impact hasn't been fully felt yet.More news: Croatian PM Says Victims of Srebrenica Genocide Must Never Be Forgotten
Apart from wearing masks and having their temperature checked, groups of voters were each allotted a two-hour slot to cast their ballots in order to spread out the process and reduce crowding, with senior citizens given priority in the first four hours. COVID-19 patients and those who are on quarantine orders, numbering around 350, can not vote to reduce the risk of community transmission. People treated for Covid-19 or under quarantine at home were not allowed to vote.