Elections in Singapore

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Coat of arms of Singapore (blazon).svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Singapore
Constitution
Foreign relations

There are currently two types of elections in Singapore: parliamentary and presidential elections.

According to the constitution of Singapore general elections must be conducted within 5 years of the first sitting of parliament. Presidential elections are conducted every 6 years.

The parliament of Singapore is unicameral with 87 seats. Since the legislative assembly election in 1959, the government of Singapore has always been formed by the People's Action Party with an overwhelming majority, and in several elections the only party elected.

Parliamentary elections[edit]

From Singapore's independence in 1965 to 1981, the People's Action Party won every single seat in every election held, forming a parliament with no elected opposition MP for almost two decades.

In 1984, opposition politicians secured an elected seat in parliament for the first time in a general election. 2 seats out of 74 seats went to opposition politicians. In 1988, the opposition won 1 seat out of 77 seats. In 1991, the opposition won 4 seats out of 81 seats. In 1997, 2001 and 2006, the opposition secured 2 seats for each respective election.

Throughout the history of the Republic of Singapore, only 12 different opposition politicians have ever been elected into parliament. They are as listed in the following tables:

Past Elected Opposition Parliamentarians

Name Affiliated Party Term Constituency
Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam WP logo variation.png Workers' Party 1981–1986 Anson SMC
Chiam See Tong SDP logo variation.png Singapore Democratic Party
SPP logo variation.png Singapore People's Party
1984 – 1996
1997 – 2011
Potong Pasir SMC
Ling How Doong SDP logo variation.png Singapore Democratic Party 1991–1997 Bukit Gombak SMC
Cheo Chai Chen SDP logo variation.png Singapore Democratic Party 1991–1997 Nee Soon Central SMC
Yaw Shin Leong WP logo variation.png Workers' Party 2011–2012 Hougang SMC

Current Elected Opposition Parliamentarians

Name Affiliated Party Term Constituency
Low Thia Khiang WP logo variation.png Workers' Party 1991 – incumbent Hougang SMC, Aljunied GRC
Lim Swee Lian Sylvia WP logo variation.png Workers' Party 2011 – incumbent Aljunied GRC
Chen Show Mao WP logo variation.png Workers' Party 2011 – incumbent Aljunied GRC
Pritam Singh WP logo variation.png Workers' Party 2011 – incumbent Aljunied GRC
Muhamad Faisal bin Abdul Manap WP logo variation.png Workers' Party 2011 – incumbent Aljunied GRC
Png Eng Huat WP logo variation.png Workers' Party 2012 – incumbent Hougang SMC
Lee Li Lian WP logo variation.png Workers' Party 2013 – incumbent Punggol East SMC

The campaigning time for elections in Singapore is very short. The legal minimum campaign time, from when the election is announced to polling day, is nine days. This minimum campaigning time is generally used in Singaporean elections.[1] The announcement of the election follows the announcement of new constituency boundaries.[1]

Walkover rates for parliamentary elections are extremely high when compared to international norms. Since 1991, walkover rates have hovered around 50% for each election. This means that around 50% of the seats of each election are uncontested and the People's Action Party wins them by default without constituents having to cast a single vote. Even before the votes are counted, the PAP has more or less won the election due to extremely high walkover rates.

The electoral system reduces the chances of opposition representation in parliament with a "winner takes all" system for Group Representation Constituencies. However, Freedom House has noted that elections in Singapore are technically free of electoral fraud.[2]

Presidential elections[edit]

Presidential elections have been held since 1993. Under the "Presidential Elections Act",[3] to run for president, one must obtain a "certificate of eligibility" from the Presidential Elections Committee. To obtain this certificate, one must be:

1. a person of integrity, good character and reputation; and

2. has held for at least 3 years a cabinet ministerial post, headed a statutory board, or been a CEO of a company incorporated in Singapore worth over $100 million in paid-up capital, or has equivalent management experience.

Because of the high requirements needed to run for presidential elections, many presidential elections have been uncontested. All presidential elections have been walkovers except for the first one, held in 1993 which was contested by two people, and the 2011 one, contested by four people. The first presidential election was won by Ong Teng Cheong, a former member of the PAP. Subsequent presidential elections in 1999 and 2005 have been won by S. R. Nathan through walkovers.

The 2011 presidential election was contested by Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, Dr Tan Cheng Bock, Tan Jee Say and Tan Kin Lian. All candidates except Tan Jee Say were former members of the PAP. The election was won by Tony Tan with a margin of 0.34% over Tan Cheng Bock.

Possible reasons for high walkover rates[edit]

Two principal reasons have been suggested for the large number of uncontested elections in Singapore.

Populace is contented with the government[edit]

The first possibility is that the Singapore populace is fully contented with the government and does not see the need for a shadow cabinet or working opposition team in parliament.[citation needed]

This is due to the effectiveness of the Singapore government in providing a high standard of living and low unemployment rate in Singapore[citation needed], as well as the lack of corruption (Singapore is ranked among the "least corrupt" by the Corruption Perceptions Index).[citation needed] However, this does not explain why other comparable countries have significant opposition parties.

Opposition views[edit]

The second possibility is that the Singapore populace is enveloped in a climate of fear, hence they do not dare to run for elections. Dr Catherine Lim has spoken about this "climate of fear" many times. She argues that a climate of fear hurts Singapore.[4]

In Singapore, opposition politicians and trade unionists were detained in prison without trial before in the 1960s and early 1970s. Many such as Lim Chin Siong, Said Zahari and Lim Hock Siew were accused by the government of being involved in subversive communist struggles. Among them, Chia Thye Poh was detained the longest; he was detained for 23 years without any trial.

In 1988, Francis Seow, former solicitor general of Singapore and opposition politician, was also detained without trial. He was later charged with tax evasion but he fled overseas and sought asylum successfully in the US. He was convicted of tax evasion in absentia.

Prominent opposition politicians such as Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam and Chee Soon Juan have also been sued for defamation by government politicians under Singapore's strict libel laws. They were both bankrupted and made to pay a few hundred thousand dollars in compensation.

Tang Liang Hong, another opposition politician and a former solicitor, was also sued for defamation by government politicians in 1997. He was convicted of defamation and ended up bankrupt. He subsequently left Singapore for Australia. In the 1990s, another Worker Party member Gopalan Nair left Singapore and obtained asylum successfully in the USA.

In recent years, Chee Soon Juan and his party members have been jailed for assembling and speaking in public without a police permit. Police permits are required for public speeches and assemblies of even a single person.[5] Chee was jailed in 2010 again for gathering with party members to distribute his party's flyers without a police permit.

Referendums[edit]

A referendum may also be held for important national issues, although it has been held only once in Singapore's political history for the 1962 merger referendum. Calls for a national referendum has been made since then, including the issue over the building of casinos in Singapore.

Elections[edit]

2011 presidential election[edit]

e • d Summary of the 27 August 2011 Singaporean presidential election results[6][7]
Candidate Symbol & party Results
Votes Percentage (%)
Tony Tan Keng Yam Spectacles-SG2001-transparent.png Nonpartisan 745,693 35.20
 
Tan Cheng Bock Tan Cheng Bock Palm Tree logo.svg Nonpartisan 738,311 34.85
 
Tan Jee Say Heart-SG2001-transparent.png Nonpartisan 530,441 25.04
 
(Loses deposit)[8] Tan Kin Lian Hand-SG2001-transparent.png Nonpartisan 104,095 4.91
 
Valid votes 2,118,540 98.24
Rejected votes 37,849 1.76
Total vote cast 2,156,389 100.00
Electorate / turnout rate 2,274,773 94.80

2011 general election[edit]

e • d Summary of the 7 May 2011 Parliament of Singapore election results
Parties and alliances Leader Contested seats Seats won Popular vote % of valid votes +/- % of valid votes in contested wards +/-
PAP logo variation.png People's Action Party Lee Hsien Loong 87 81 1,212,154 60.14
 
Decrease 6.46 60.14
 
Decrease 6.46
WP logo variation.png Workers' Party Low Thia Khiang 23 6 258,510 12.83
 
Decrease 3.51 46.58
 
Increase 8.15
NSP logo variation.png National Solidarity Party Goh Meng Seng 24 0 242,682 12.04
 
Decrease 0.95* 39.25
 
Increase 6.37*
SDP logo variation.png Singapore Democratic Party Chee Soon Juan 11 0 97,369 4.83
 
Increase 0.76 36.76
 
Increase 13.53
RP logo variation.png Reform Party Kenneth Jeyaretnam 11 0 86,294 4.28
 
New party 31.78
 
New party
SPP logo variation.png Singapore People's Party Chiam See Tong 7 0 62,639 3.11
 
Decrease 9.88* 41.42
 
Increase 8.90*
SDA logo variation.png Singapore Democratic Alliance Desmond Lim 7 0 55,988 2.78
 
Decrease 10.21 30.06
 
Decrease 2.46
Total 87 2,015,636 85.63
Spoilt votes 44,737 2.2
Did not vote (including walk-overs) 292,913 12.46
Total voting electorate 2,350,873 100.0
 Includes uncontested victories.
* Formerly a constituent party of Singapore Democratic Alliance. Swings reflected are from the SDA's 2006 vote share.

2006 general election[edit]

e • d Summary of the 6 May 2006 Parliament of Singapore election results
Parties and alliances Leader Contested
seats
Seats won Popular vote % +/-
PAP logo variation.png People's Action Party Lee Hsien Loong 84 82 748,130 66.60 -8.69
WP logo variation.png Workers' Party Low Thia Khiang 20 1 183,578 16.34 +13.30
SDA logo variation.png Singapore Democratic Alliance Chiam See Tong 20 1 145,628 12.96 +0.96
SDP logo variation.png Singapore Democratic Party Chee Soon Juan 7 0 45,937 4.09 -4.04
Total 84 1,123,273 91.85
Spoilt votes 26,727 2.19
Did not vote 72,884 5.96
Total voting electorate 1,222,884 100.00
 includes uncontested victories

2005 presidential election[edit]

The Singapore presidential election of 2005 was to be held on 27 August 2005 to elect the president of Singapore. Since on 13 August 2005, the Presidential Elections Committee announced that Sellapan Ramanathan was the only candidate that had received the certificate of eligibility, he was named the next president without election.


e • d Summary of the 17 August 2005 Singapore presidential election results
Candidate Votes
S. R. Nathan Without ballot

More info: Singapore presidential election, 2005.

Past elections[edit]

Legislative Council elections[edit]

Legislative Assembly elections[edit]

Parliamentary elections[edit]

Other elections[edit]

Municipal Commission elections[edit]

City Council elections[edit]

National referendums[edit]

Federal and State elections (Malaysia)[edit]

Presidential elections[edit]

Party election[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b Diane K. Muazy and R. S. Milne, Singapore Under the People's Action Party (London, 2002), p. 143.
  2. ^ "Map of Freedom in the World: Singapore (2009)". Freedom House. Retrieved 19 April 2011. 
  3. ^ http://statutes.agc.gov.sg/non_version/cgi-bin/cgi_retrieve.pl?actno=REVED-240A&doctitle=PRESIDENTIAL%20ELECTIONS%20ACT%0A&date=latest&method=part&sl=1
  4. ^ Loo, Daryl (14 December 2007). "Climate of fear hurts Singapore: author". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  5. ^ FreedomHouse. "Freedom of the World 2011 Singapore report". Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  6. ^ Presidential Elections Results. Singapore Elections Department. 28 August 2011.
  7. ^ Polling Day Voter Turnout. Singapore Elections Department. 28 August 2011.
  8. ^ Koh, Hui Theng. "He was outflanked". AsiaOne. Singapore Press. Retrieved 28 September 2012. 
Bibliography

External links[edit]