Elections in Singapore

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Coat of arms of Singapore.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 for parliament must be conducted within 3 months of the dissolution of parliament, which has a maximum term of 5 years from the first sitting of parliament, and presidential elections are conducted every 6 years.

The parliament of Singapore is unicameral with 89 seats. Since the legislative assembly election in 1959, the People's Action Party has had an overwhelming majority, and for nearly two decades was the only party to win any seats, and has always formed the government of Singapore.

Parliamentary elections

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 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.

From 1984, opposition politicians began being elected in parliament. 2 seats out of 74 seats went to opposition politicians. Subsequently, in 1988, the People's Action Party won 76 out of 77 seats; in 1991, People's Action Party won 77 seats out of 81 seats. In 1997, 2001 and 2006, 2 opposition candidates were elected during each respective parliamentary election. In 1988, former solicitor general of Singapore and opposition politician Francis Seow was also detained without trial. He was later charged with tax evasion but he fled overseas and sought asylum successfully in the United States of America. He was convicted of tax evasion in absentia. Workers' Party member Gopalan Nair also fled Singapore in the 1990s.[1] Dr Catherine Lim argues that a climate of fear hurts Singapore.[2] Prominent opposition politicians bankrupted and/or jailed in the 20th century also include Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam, Tang Liang Hong and Chee Soon Juan.[3]

The campaigning time for elections in Singapore remains very short in the 21st century. 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.[4] The announcement of the election follows the announcement of new constituency boundaries.[4]

Since the implementation of the Group Representation Constituencies, critics have accused the ruling party of gerrymandering.[5] The electoral system reduces the chances of opposition representation in parliament with a "winner takes all" system. As pointed by NGO group Maruah Singapore, it "creates a barrier to entry" for smaller opposition political parties to contest in the general elections as they may find it hard to field a 5-member team of talents, it also allows for the "free-riding of untested candidates" who get in on the back of stronger team members, such as the PAP candidates brought in to the Tanjong Pagar GRC, which was uncontested for 14 years when helmed by the popular Lee Kuan Yew.[6] The Elections Department, in charge of redrawing electoral boundaries without the need of parliamentary approval, was established as part of the executive branch under the Prime Minister of Singapore, rather than as an independent body.[7][8] Critics have accused it of giving the ruling party the power to decide polling districts and polling sites through electoral engineering, based on poll results in previous elections.[9] Opposition politician Sylvia Lim has stated in parliament,“The entire electoral boundary re-drawing process is completely shrouded in secrecy, chaired by the Secretary to the Cabinet. There are no public hearings, no minutes of meeting published. The revised boundaries are released weeks or even days before Nomination Day. The report makes no attempt to explain why certain single seats are retained while others are dissolved, nor why new GRCs are created or old ones re-shaped.”[10] Cheng San GRC and Eunos GRC were examples of constituencies dissolved by the Elections Department after opposition parties gained ground in elections, with voters redistributed to other constituencies.[8]

However, Freedom House has noted that elections in Singapore are technically free of electoral fraud.[11] Throughout the history of the Republic of Singapore, hundreds of politicians have been elected in parliament, of whom majority of unique candidates represent the ruling People's Action Party including surviving stalwarts like Lee Khoon Choy.[12] Since 1965, 12 opposition politicians have been elected into parliament, including Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam, Chiam See Tong, Ling How Doong, Cheo Chai Chen, Yaw Shin Leong and Lee Li Lian, and also six incumbent candidates from the Workers' Party of Singapore, namely Low Thia Khiang, Lim Swee Lian Sylvia, Chen Show Mao, Pritam Singh, Muhamad Faisal bin Abdul Manap and Png Eng Huat.

2015 general election results

e • d Summary of the 11 Sep 2015 Parliament of Singapore election results[13]
Parties and alliances Leader Contested seats Divs won Seats won Popular vote % of valid votes +/- % of valid votes in wards contested by party +/-
SMC GRC Divs Total
4m 5m 6m
PAP logo variation.png People's Action Party Lee Hsien Loong 13 6 8 2 29 89 27 83 1,576,784 69.86
 
Increase 9.72 69.86
 
Increase 9.72
WP logo variation.png Workers' Party Low Thia Khiang 5 2 3 0 10 28 2 6 281,697 12.48
 
Decrease 0.34 39.75
 
Decrease 6.83
SDP logo variation.png Singapore Democratic Party Chee Soon Juan 3 2 0 0 5 11 0 0 84,770 3.76
 
Decrease 1.07 31.23
 
Decrease 5.53
NSP logo variation.png National Solidarity Party Sebastian Teo 2 0 2 0 4 12 0 0 79,780 3.53
 
Decrease 8.51 25.27
 
Decrease 13.98
RP logo variation.png Reform Party Kenneth Jeyaretnam 1 1 0 1 3 11 0 0 59,432 2.63
 
Decrease 1.65 20.60
 
Decrease 11.18
SFP logo variation.png Singaporeans First Tan Jee Say 0 0 2 0 2 10 0 0 50,791 2.25
 
New 21.49
 
New
Spp-logo-2.png Singapore People's Party Lina Chiam 3 0 1 0 4 8 0 0 49,015 2.17
 
Decrease 0.94 27.08
 
Decrease 14.34
SDA logo variation.png Singapore Democratic Alliance Desmond Lim 0 0 0 1 1 6 0 0 46,508 2.06
 
Decrease 0.72 27.11
 
Decrease 2.95
People's Power Party Goh Meng Seng 0 1 0 0 1 4 0 0 25,460 1.13
 
New 23.11
 
New
SG-GE-2015-IND-HORSE-SYMBOL.pngSG-GE-2015-IND-FLOWER-SYMBOL.png Independents N/A 2 0 0 0 2 2 0 0 2,779 0.12
 
N/A 10.10
 
N/A
Valid votes 29 89 2,257,016 97.95% of total votes cast
Invalid (e.g. blank or spoilt) votes 47,315 2.05% of total votes cast
Total votes cast 2,304,331 Voter turnout: 93.56% of eligible voters
Did not vote 158,595
Eligible voters (excluding walkover voters) 2,462,926
Walkover voters 0
Electorate 2,462,926

Presidential elections

Presidential elections have been held since 1993. Under the "Presidential Elections Act",[14] to run for president, one must obtain a "certificate of eligibility" from the Presidential Elections Committee. To obtain this certificate:

  • He or she must be a citizen of Singapore.[15]
  • He or she must not be less than 45 years of age.[16]
  • His or her name must appear in a current register of electors.[17]
  • He or she must be resident in Singapore at the date of his or her nomination for election and must have been so resident for periods amounting in the aggregate to not less than ten years prior to that date.[18]
  • He or she must not be subject to any of the following disqualifications:[19]
(a) being and having been found or declared to be of unsound mind;
(b) being an undischarged bankrupt;
(c) holding an office of profit;
(d) having been nominated for election to Parliament or the office of President or having acted as election agent to a person so nominated, failing to lodge any return of election expenses required by law within the time and in the manner so required;
(e) having been convicted of an offence by a court of law in Singapore or Malaysia and sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than one year or to a fine of not less than S$2,000 and having not received a free pardon, provided that where the conviction is by a court of law in Malaysia, the person shall not be disqualified unless the offence is also one which, had it been committed in Singapore, would have been punishable by a court of law in Singapore;[20]
(f) having voluntarily acquired the citizenship of, or exercised rights of citizenship in, a foreign country, or having made a declaration of allegiance to a foreign country;[21]
(g) being disqualified under any law relating to offences in connection with elections to Parliament or the office of President by reason of having been convicted of such an offence or having in proceedings relating to such an election been proved guilty of an act constituting such an offence.

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, whose closest relation to the party was when he served as then-Deputy Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong's principal private secretary from 1985 to 1990. The election was won by Tony Tan with a margin of 0.34% over Tan Cheng Bock.

2011 presidential election results

e • d Summary of the 27 August 2011 Singaporean presidential election results[28][29][30]
Candidate Symbol Results
Votes % of valid votes
Tony Tan Spectacles-SG2001-transparent.png 745,693 35.20
 
Tan Cheng Bock Traveller's palm logo, Singaporean presidential election, 2011.svg 738,311 34.85
 
Tan Jee Say Heart-SG2001-transparent.png 530,441 25.04
 
Tan Kin Lian (Loses deposit) Hand-SG2001-transparent.png 104,095 4.91
 
Valid votes 2,118,540 98.24% of total votes cast
Rejected votes 37,849 1.76% of total votes cast
Total votes cast 2,156,389 Voter turnout: 94.8% of electorate
Absent 118,384
Electorate 2,274,773

2017 presidential election

The election in 2017 has also been won by Halimah Yacob through a walkover.

Referendums

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.

Past elections

Legislative Council elections

Legislative Assembly elections

Parliamentary elections

Other elections

Municipal Commission elections

City Council elections

National referendums

Federal & State elections for Malaysia

Presidential elections

Party election

See also

References

Notes
  1. ^ Nair, Gopalan. "Singapore Dissident". Singapore Dissident. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  2. ^ Loo, Daryl (14 December 2007). "Climate of fear hurts Singapore: author". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  3. ^ FreedomHouse. "Freedom of the World 2011 Singapore report". Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  4. ^ a b Diane K. Muazy and R. S. Milne, Singapore Under the People's Action Party (London, 2002), p. 143.
  5. ^ Channel NewsAsia, "More detailed explanation needed to fend off gerrymandering claims: Analysts", August 3, 2015. http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/more-detailed-explanation/2007228.html
  6. ^ Koh, Gillian (27 August 2013). "GRC system and politics of inclusion" (PDF). The Straits Times. Retrieved 27 August 2017.
  7. ^ Prime Minister's Office, Our Departments Archived 7 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ a b Tan, Netina (14 July 2013). "Manipulating electoral laws in Singapore, Electoral Studies". Electoral Studies. (Special Symposium: The new research agenda on electoral integrity). doi:10.1016/j.electstud.2013.07.014. Retrieved 27 August 2017.
  9. ^ Electoral Engineering: Voting Rules and Political Behavior, Pippa Norris
  10. ^ "Singapore Parliament Reports - Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (Amendment) Bill". 2010-04-26. Archived from the original on 2017-08-27. Retrieved 2017-08-27.
  11. ^ "Map of Freedom in the World: Singapore (2009)". Freedom House. Retrieved 19 April 2011.
  12. ^ Ong, Andrea. "Ex-MP and diplomat launches book on multi-ethnic Chinese descendants in SEA". Straits Times. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  13. ^ 2015 Parliamentary Election Results, Elections Department, 14 September 2015, archived from the original on 14 September 2015; "GE2015: Live Results", The Straits Times, 12 September 2015, retrieved 14 September 2015.
  14. ^ "PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS ACT". Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  15. ^ Constitution, Art. 19(2)(a).
  16. ^ Constitution, Art. 19(2)(b).
  17. ^ Constitution, Art. 19(2)(c) read with Art. 44(2)(c).
  18. ^ Constitution, Art. 19(2)(c) read with Art. 44(2)(d).
  19. ^ Constitution, Art. 19(2)(d) read with Art. 45.
  20. ^ The disqualification of a person under clauses (d) and (e) may be removed by the President and shall, if not so removed, cease at the end of five years beginning from the date on which the return mentioned in clause (d) was required to be lodged or, as the case may be, the date on which the person convicted as mentioned in clause (e) was released from custody or the date on which the fine mentioned in clause (1) (e) was imposed on such person: Constitution, Art. 45(2).
  21. ^ A person shall not be disqualified under this clause by reason only of anything done by him before he became a citizen of Singapore: Constitution, Art. 45(2). In clause (f), "foreign country" does not include any part of the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland: Art. 45(3).
  22. ^ Constitution, Art. 19(2)(e).
  23. ^ Constitution, Art. 19(2)(f).
  24. ^ Constitution, Art. 19(3)(a).
  25. ^ Constitution, Art. 19(3)(b) read with the Fifth Schedule.
  26. ^ Constitution, Art. 19(4), read with Art. 19(7).
  27. ^ Constitution, Art. 19(3)(c) and Art 19(4)(b).
  28. ^ Singapore Presidential Election 2011
  29. ^ Presidential Elections Results. Singapore Elections Department. 28 August 2011.
  30. ^ Polling Day Voter Turnout. Singapore Elections Department. 28 August 2011.
Bibliography
  • Yeo, Lay Hwee (2002), "Electoral Politics in Singapore", in Croissant, Aurel; Bruns, Gabriele; John, Marei, eds., Electoral Politics in Southeast and East Asia (PDF), Singapore: Office for Regional Cooperation, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, pp. 203–232, ISBN 978-981-04-6020-4, archived from the original (PDF) on 6 March 2007.

External links

  • Singapore Elections Department website
  • Singapore Elections
  • Adam Carr's Election Archive
  • National Library of Singapore's resource guide on general elections in Singapore
Retrieved from "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Elections_in_Singapore&oldid=860500550"
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elections_in_Singapore
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "Elections in Singapore"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA