THE next General Election (GE) will be a watershed event for Singaporeans and especially the young, even if they are not yet old enough to vote, Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said last night.

From the next polls, due by February 2012, Singapore's fourth prime minister and a core team of younger ministers will emerge, he explained.

Speaking to 1,000 undergraduates at the annual Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Students' Union Ministerial Forum, he said that the political buzz will build over the next few months in anticipation of an election.

But he was of the view that some 'may not fully appreciate the purpose and importance' of general elections, which are to elect people who will govern the country, and whose policies will impact the lives of Singaporeans.

'They simply yearn for liberal Western-style democracies without considering whether these will produce a good and effective government,' he said.

Mr Goh cited an exchange of letters in The Straits Times Forum pages
last month, sparked by a reader who, quoting her American husband, wrote that 'democracy is just a fancy word for partisan bickering and gridlocked government'.

Watershed event for youth