SINGAPORE (Nov 7): Singaporeans could go to the ballot boxes sooner than expected. A general election next year is "always possible".

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait in an interview at the New Economy Forum in Singapore. Polls must be held by early 2021.

"There are many reasons to bring elections forward, or not, so we’ll see,” Lee said late Tuesday, when asked if celebrations to mark the 200th year of the city-state’s modern founding would be reason enough to advance it.

The ruling People’s Action Party secured almost 70% of the vote in the 2015 election, an improvement from 2011. To plan for the next generation, Lee has elevated younger leaders who must navigate the trade-dependent nation through challenges arising from an aging population, a maturing economy and growing global protectionism.

Lee told parliament in May a clear leader to succeed him will emerge before the country’s next general election. The premier, 66, has signalled he doesn’t want to stay in power beyond 70.

The New Economy Forum is being organised by Bloomberg Media Group, a division of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.