SINGAPORE: Singapore might see a ‘one-and-a-half occasion’ political system sooner or later – with better political contestation even whereas the ruling occasion stays in energy.

This was one of many eventualities thrown up at a discussion board held on-line on Thursday (Oct 1) by the Institute of Coverage Research (IPS) the place a panel of specialists gave their views on the outcomes of the 2020 Basic Election.

IPS additionally shared the findings of a post-election survey on the attitudes of Singapore voters on the discussion board.

READ: Bread and butter issues, need for different views in Parliament – both mattered to voters in GE2020: IPS survey

Dr Lam Peng Er, a Senior Analysis Fellow on the East Asian Institute who research Japanese politics, mentioned that this was a possible system in Singapore within the subsequent one or twenty years.

“There’s … hypothesis that Basic Election 2020 has given rise to an incipient two-party system in Singapore. I very a lot doubt it,” he mentioned.

“If you are going to put a gun in opposition to my head and ask me to anticipate what’s the doubtless occasion system in Singapore – it isn’t going to be a PAP monopoly of all of the seats in Parliament after the Barisan Sosialis walked out. I believe (we’re) extra more likely to see the emergence of a one-and-a-half occasion system inside the subsequent decade or two.”

Singapore is unlikely to see a rotation of the ruling occasion like in Western fashions of democracy, however the nation might transfer in the direction of a system that Japan had for a few years – from 1955 to 1993, when the conservative Liberal Democratic Get together was in energy, Dr Lam mentioned.

READ: GE2020 – PAP’s credibility dipped, WP’s went up from previous polls, says IPS post-election survey

Then, the perennial occasion in energy was the LDP however there was a everlasting occasion in opposition – the Japan Socialist Get together, which had a considerable presence within the Japanese Food plan.

“If such a Japanese situation would emerge, then it is going to be a Goldilocks consequence for almost all of voters,” he mentioned.

A Goldilocks situation is commonly used to explain one which takes neither excessive of any given spectrum.

Dr Lam drew this analogy, saying there could be political stability and predictability, with the Individuals’s Motion Get together (PAP) forming the Authorities, whereas having checks and balances in Parliament.


Dr Lam was giving his evaluation as a part of a dialogue with a panel comprising political observer Dr Derek da Cunha, Professor Chu Yun-han, director of the Asian Barometer Survey and Dr Teo Kay Key, an IPS postdoctoral fellow. The dialogue was moderated by Dr Gillian Koh, IPS’ deputy director of analysis.

Professor Chu gave an evaluation of Singaporeans’ political tradition in comparison with different Asian nations, primarily based on his institute’s intensive survey of attitudes in the direction of governance and democracy in a number of territories in Asia.

His evaluation was that Singapore’s system of presidency had sturdy legitimacy amongst its residents, in comparison with different Asian nations. This was as a result of many Singaporeans, like residents in different Asian nations, valued good governance and social fairness over the norms of democracy – corresponding to truthful elections – or democratic freedoms, information from his research confirmed.

“Asian residents count on democracy to ship, they do not conceive of democracy within the phrases a typical political scientist would outline it … their understanding of democracy is sweet governance, it is clear politics, it is effectivity,” he mentioned.

Answering questions from on-line viewers, the panellists additionally gave their tackle whether or not elections in Singapore have been truthful, and if there could possibly be enhancements made to the nation’s political system. 

Dr da Cunha mentioned that in his opinion elections in Singapore are free however not essentially truthful. “So, within the sense that we do have an elections division which is a part of the Prime Minister’s Workplace, after which we even have an electoral boundaries evaluation committee, a part of the identical arrange,” he mentioned.

“If boundaries are going to be redrawn forward of elections, I believe, to have a minimal degree of equity, they need to be redrawn a yr earlier than the Basic Election,” he mentioned.

Dr Lam mentioned that as Singapore develops as a democracy, a way of equity was “essential”, including that it was a good transfer to formally recognise Employees’ Get together (WP) chief Pritam Singh as Chief of the Opposition following the Jul 10 election.

The transfer got here after WP received a second Group Illustration Constituency (GRC) and elevated the variety of elected seats it held in Parliament to 10.  


Nevertheless, Dr da Cunha mentioned that he didn’t see a lot change within the political tradition of Singapore, as Parliament has saved its Authorities Parliamentary Committees – that are committees to scrutinise the laws and programmes of presidency ministries shaped by PAP backbenchers.

He instructed changing them with Choose Committees that can draw members from each PAP and opposition Members of Parliament.

“They’ll present direct enter to coverage making … then we’ll have participatory democracy all year long as a substitute of what we’ve now, which is as soon as each 4 or 5 years,” he mentioned.

READ: Facebook, CNA and YouTube were channels voters turned to in 2020 ‘online’ General Election: IPS survey

In response to a query on whether or not the GRC system must be modified, Dr Lam mentioned that it may be “fine-tuned”. He instructed capping the dimensions of GRCs at 4 members. The present restrict is 5.

Though opposition supporters criticise the system for upping the bar for opposition candidates, its unique intent was to make sure ethnic minority illustration, he mentioned.

The GRC system is a “double-edged sword”, as confirmed by the WP in Aljunied and Sengkang GRCs, he mentioned. Successful a GRC allowed the occasion to safe 4 or 5 seats at a time as a substitute of 1, Dr Lam identified. He added that Singapore also needs to take into consideration how to make sure better illustration of girls in Parliament.

Nevertheless, Dr da Cunha disagreed, saying that the GRC system remains to be a “single-edged sword” in favour of the ruling occasion as a result of a GRC is giant sufficient that the pattern measurement tends to imitate the favored vote nationally, though he added that “there’ll at all times be outliers”.

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