- For the upcoming General Elections, we will have 12 SMCs and 15 GRCs making a total of 27 constituencies and 87 MPs. There are altogether 2,350,257 electors on the current registers of electors (based on prescribed cut-off date as on 1 January 2011).
TYPES OF ELECTORAL DIVISIONS
There are two types of electoral divisions:
A) Single Member Constituencies (SMCs)
- This is an electoral division that has a single MP representing the interests of those residents in the constituency.
- During a by-election in the SMU or a general election, the registered electors of the SMC will vote for a single individual to be their MP.
- The Parliamentary Elections Act requires that there must be at least 12 SMCs at any time.
- We currently have a total of 12 SMCs:
|SMC Name||No. of Electors|
|Hong Kah North||27,696|
B) Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs)
- This is usually a larger electoral division, both in terms of population as well as physical area. A group of Members of Parliament (MPs) represents the interests of those residents in the constituency.
- Thus, during a general election or by-election in the GRC, the registered electors of the GRC will vote for a group of individuals to be their MPs.
- The group may be made up of 3, 4, 5 or 6 individuals. The President declares the group number for each GRC by law.
- At least one of the MPs in the group representing a GRC must belong to a minority racial community, either the Malay community or the Indian and other minority communities.
- By law, the President designates the GRCs whose MP must belong to one of these minority racial communities. However, the number of GRCs that can be designated as those belonging to the Malay community cannot be more than three-fifths the total number of GRCs, rounded to the next higher whole number.
- The GRC system was established in 1988 to ensure that the minority racial communities in Singapore will always be represented in Parliament. To ensure this, the Parliamentary Elections Act requires that at least one-quarter of the total number of MPs must be representatives of GRCs.
- Currently, there are a total of 15 GRCs, represented by a total of 75 MPs.
- The list of GRCs today is set out below. Those coloured green are those which the President has designated that at least one of their MPs must belong to the Malay community. Those coloured blue are those one of whose MPs must belong to the Indian or other minority communities.
|GRC Name||No. of MPs||No. of Electors|
|Chua Chu Kang||5||158,617|
|GRC Name||No. of MPs||No. of Electors|
|Ang Mo Kio||6||179,024|
RESULTS OF PREVIOUS ELECTION
*Elections results based on individual party performance included in 'Background to Political Parties' segment.
BACKGROUND ON POLITICAL PARTIES
People's Action Party (PAP)
The PAP has held an overwhelming majority of seats in the Parliament of Singapore since 1966. This left the PAP as the only major political party. In the general elections of 1968, 1972, 1976, and 1980, the PAP won all of the seats in an expanding parliament. Opposition parties have not held more than four parliamentary seats since 1984. All serious opposition leaders since 1959 have been systematically sued, bankrupted and or imprisoned by Lee Kuan Yew and his Judiciary.
In 1988, Wong Kan Seng revealed that there were more than 1,000 cadres. Cadre members have the right to attend party conferences and to vote for and elect and to be elected to the Central Executive Committee (CEC), the pinnacle of party leaders. To become a cadre, a party member is first nominated by the MP in his or her branch. The candidate then undergoes three sessions of interviews, each with four or five ministers or MPs, and the appointment is then made by the CEC. About 100 candidates are nominated each year.
Political power in the party is concentrated in the Central Executive Committee (CEC), led by the Secretary-General. Most CEC members are also cabinet members. From 1957 onwards the rules laid down that the outgoing CEC should recommend a list of candidates from which the cadre members can then vote for the next CEC. This has been changed recently so that the CEC nominates eight members and the party caucus selects the remaining ten.
In the 2006 Singapore General Election, the PAP won 82 of the 84 elected seats in the Parliament of Singapore while receiving 66.6% of total votes cast.
Worker's Party of Singapore (WP)
The Worker's Party is a centre-left political opposition party in Singapore. The party currently has two seats in Parliament, with party leader Low Thia Khiang serving as Member of Parliament (MP) for Hougang and party chairman Sylvia Lim serving as a Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP).
The Workers' Party was founded by Singapore's former Chief Minister, David Marshall, in 1957. In 1981, the party's then-leader J.B Jeyaretnam, became the first opposition MP to be elected to Parliament since Singapore's independence in 1965, when he defeated the candidate of the governing PAP at a by-election in the constituency of Anson. Worker's Party member Lee Siew Choh served as an NCMP from 1988 to 1991. At the 1991 general election, Low Thia Khiang was elected as MP for Hougang. He was re-elected at the 1997, 2001 and 2006 general elections. Jeyaretnam returned to Parliament as an NCMP from 1997 to 2001, and Sylvia Lim has also served as an NCMP for the party since 2006.
In recent years, the Workers' Party's candidates have worn a uniform of blue shirts and black trousers or skirts while campaigning to represent the party's links with the blue collar workers.
1991 to 1996
At the 1991 general election, Low Thia Khiang, who was then the Workers' Party's Assistant Secretary-General, was elected as the MP for Hougang. He defeated the PAP's Tang Guan Seng by 10,621 votes (52.8%) to 9,487 (47.2%).
The party also polled strongly in Eunos GRC again, losing to the PAP's team by 47.6% of the votes to 52.4%. During the election campaign, one of the Workers' Party's candidates in Eunos, Mohamed Jufrie bin Mahmood, drew particular fire from the PAP and Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, who accused him of being a Malay chauvinist, an accusation Jufrie strongly denied.
No NCMP seats were offered to any of the opposition parties following the election as the opposition won a combined total of four seats (Low of the Workers' Party plus three MPs from Singapore Democratic Party).
Low captured national attention for his performances in Parliament, receiving praise for his assertiveness, good analytical ability and his willingness to be constructive rather than oppose for the sake of opposing.
A by-election in the Marine Parade Group Representation Constituency in 1992 was expected to mark the return of Jeyaretnam to electoral poltics after his Parliamentary ban had expired. But one of Workers' Party's candidates backed out at the last minute and failed to turn up on nomination day, preventing the party from registering its team for the election.
In 1996, Lee Siew Choh left the Workers' Party, citing differences Jeyaretnam.
1997 to 2000
Low was re-elected as Hougang MP at the 1997 general election.
The party also performed strongly in the Cheng San Group Representation Constituency, where Jeyaretnam was one of the party's candidates. The party lost to the PAP's team in the constituency by 45.2% of the votes to 54.8%.
Besides Low, only one other opposition MP was elected (Chiam See Tong, who had left the Singapore Democratic Party to join the Singapore People's Party). As the Workers' Party's team in Cheng San had polled better than any other opposition losing candidates, they were invited to select an NCMP. Jeyaretnam therefore returned to Parliament as an NCMP.
2001 to 2005
In 2001, Jeyaretnam lost his NCMP seat when he was declared bankrupt after failing to pay damages owed from a libel suit in which he was sued for calling the Indian PAP leaders a bunch of stooges in a 1996 issue of the Workers' Party's newspaper, The Hammer.
Low Thia Khiang became the Worker's Party's Secretary-General in 2001 following the resignation of Jeyaretnam. The transfer of party leadership took place in bitter acrimony as Jeyaretnam later accused Low of not doing enough to help him pay the damages from the libel suit. In response, Low claimed that he had always looked upon Jeyaretnam as an elder and had done everything possible to help him.
Observers speculated that with Low at the helm, the Workers' Party would tone down its more hard-line stance and take on a more centrist outlook at the 2001 general election. Indeed soon after Low took over, Jeyaretnam and a faction which was loyal to him left the party (and later formed the Reform Party), and a group of new, younger members were recruited by the Workers' Party. Among them were James Gomez, Yaw Shin Leong and Sylvia Lim.
2006 to present
Low was re-elected as Hougang MP at the 2001 general election.
At the 2006 general election, Low was elected as Hougang MP for the fourth time. The party also polled strongly in the Aljunied Group Representation Constituency, losing to the PAP's team with 43.9% of the vote to 56.1%. This gave the party the right to the NCMP seat reserved for the best-performing opposition losers, and the party's Chairman, Sylvia Lim, was selected to become the NCMP.
Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA)
The SDA is an alliance of political parties in Singapore. The SDA was formed shortly before the 2001 general election to provide a common grouping under which different oppositition parties could stand as a united front in elections against the ruling People's Action Party (PAP). The founding Chairman of the SDA was the leader of the Singapore People's Party and Member of Parliament (MP) for Potong Pasir, Chiam See Tong.
The SDA was initially an alliance of four political parties: the National Solidarity Party (NSP), the Singapore Justice Party (SJP), the Singapore People's Party (SPP), and the Singapore Malay National Organization (PKMS).
In 2007, the National Solidarity Party withdrew from the alliance. In February 2011, the SDA's Council voted to relieve Chiam of his role as Chairman, following which Chiam announced that the Singapore People's Party was withdrawing from the SDA.
2001 General Election
The SDA fielded 13 candidates in two Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs) and three Single Member Constituencies (SMCs), and secured 12.0% of the votes cast in the general election.
The SDA's Chairman, Chiam See Tong, became the first (and to date only) MP elected under the SDA banner when he was re-elected as MP for Potong Pasir. (He had previously been elected as a Singapore People's Party representative in 1997, and as a Singapore Democratic Party representative in 1984, 1988 and 1991.)
The result made Chiam the de facto leader of the opposition in Parliament, as the SDA had two representatives (Chiam and Chia), whereas the only other opposition party represented in Parliament (the Worker's Party) had only one (Hougang MP Low Thia Khiang).
2006 General Election
On 16 April 2006, SDA announced that in the upcoming general election, it was aiming to win 15 seats. The SDA also wanted to set up a viable Shadow Cabinet if it won two GRCs and four single-seat wards.
Chiam was re-elected as MP for Potong Pasir at the general election. However the SDA did not win any other seats. Steve Chia lost his position as a non-constituency MP. Though Chia increased his share of the vote in Chua Chu Kang to 39.63%, this was lower than the 43.9% gained by the Worker's Party in Aljunied GRC. The role of de facto leader of the opposition in Parliament therefore passed from Chiam to the Worker's Party leader Low Thia Khiang.
NSP, Reform party leave
In 2007, the National Solidarity Party announced that it had decided to withdraw from the SDA in order to "explore new possibilities through wider latitude to manoeuvre, re-engineer, and rebuild the NSP".
In 2010, Chiam tried to bring the Reform Party into the SDA, but on 28 February 2011, the SDA's Council voted to relieve Chiam of his role as Chairman, however the Council stressed that they still hoped to field Chiam as a candidate at the next general election. But two days later, on 2 March 2011, Chiam announced that the Singapore People's Party was withdrawing from the SDA, and that he would stand under the banner of the SPP instead of the SDA at the next general election
Singapore People's Party (SPP)
The SPP is a a left of centre opposition political party in Singapore. The party's leader is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Potong Pasir, Chiam See Tong.
In 2001, the SPP became a founding member of the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA), along with the National Solidarity Party (NSP), the Singapore Justice Party (SJP) and the Singapore Malay National Organisation (PKMS). Chiam became the founding Chairman of SDA, which aimed to provide a common grouping under which different oppositition parties could stand as a united front in elections against the ruling People's Action Party (PAP).
The NSP withdrew from the SDA in 2007, however the SPP remained in the alliance for the timebeing with the SJP and PKMS.
In 2010, Chiam tried to bring the Reform Party into the SDA. He reportedly accepted the conditions the Reform Party set out for joining the alliance, however the terms of entry were opposed by other members of the SDA's Council who blocked the move. Chiam also suffered a mild stroke in 2008, following which he had to cut back on some of his political activities, and this led some members of the SDA's Council to question whether he was able to properly fulfil his role of Chairman of the alliance. On 28 February 2011, the SDA's Council voted to relieve Chiam of his role as Chairman, however the Council stressed that they still hoped to field Chiam as a candidate at the next general election. (Chiam had earlier announced that he planned to stand in a Group Representation Constituency rather than in the Potong Pasir Single Member Constituency at the next general election.) But two days later, on 2 March 2011, Chiam announced that the Singapore People's Party was withdrawing from the SDA, and that he would stand under the banner of the SPP instead of the SDA at the next general election.
Reform Party (RP)
It was founded in 2008 by the late Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam, and is currently headed by his son Kenneth Jeyaretnam, who succeeded him as party secretary-general after the elder Jeyaretnam died in 2008. As of 2009, the party has not participated in any general election, but is expected to contest the 2011 General Election.
On 30 September 2008, J. B. Jeyaretnam died following a heart attack, and the post of Secretary-General was made vacant. On 10 April 2009, the Central Executive Committee appointed J. B. Jeyaretnam's son Kenneth Jeyaretnam to succeed his father in the post of Secretary-General by majority vote, while also successfully passing a vote of no confidence in then-Chairperson Ng Teck Siong amidst differences with Kenneth Jeyaretnam.
On May 8, 2010, breaking away from tradition in Singapore politics where election candidates are announced near the election and after the electoral boundaries are confirmed, the Reform Party announced its six candidates for the coming election. The candidates are Jeisilan Sivalingam, Tony Tan, Hazel Poa, Abdul Rahim bin Osman, Alec Tok and Kenneth Jeyaretnam.
On May 6, 2010, the Reform Party announced that they were seek to join the Singapore Democratic Alliance. However, the talks on an alliance stalled soon after the announcement was made when the Reform Party became upset about the leak of its 11 conditions for an alliance. An announcement on the Reform Party's website in November 2010 indicated they have withdrawn their application to join the SDA but are open to co-operating with the SDA's main component party, the Singapore People's Party
Mass resignation in 2011
Several key members of the Reform Party resigned in February 2011. Those who have resigned include five members of the Central Executive Committee - treasurer James Teo, 51; organising secretary Jeisilan Sivalingam, 41; youth wing chief Justin Ong, 25; and CEC members Jeannette Aruldoss, 46, and Tony Tan Lay Thiam, 41, a former government scholarship holder slated to be a candidate for the election.
Others who left include Mr Tan's wife, Ms Hazel Poa, 41, also a potential candidate; freelance writer Samantha De Silva, 27; dentist Gan Theng Wei, 35; and advertising executive Nicole Seah, 24.
Difficulty working with the Reform Party General-Secretary Kenneth Jeyaretnam was cited as a key reason for their departure. On February 26th, the Reform Party's Chairman Tan Tee Seng resigned. Some of those who resigned expressed interest to join other opposition parties or form a new party to contest in the coming election.
PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS GENERAL INFORMATION
The Parliamentary Elections include the General Elections and By-elections. The General Elections was last held on 6 May 2006. The Parliament has a term of 5 years and the first sitting for the current Parliament was on 3 November 2006. The General Elections must be held within 3 months of the dissolution of the Parliament. The next General Elections must be held not later than 2 February 2012.
- The Parliament
Our Parliament is single house and has three types of Members of Parliament (MPs). They are:
a. Elected MPs;
b. Non-Constituency MPs; and
c. Nominated MPs.
Elected MPs form the bulk and are elected at an election on a one-man-one-vote system based on simple majority (popularly known as first-pass-the-post system).
Elected MPs could be returned from Single Member Constituencies (SMC) and Group Representation Constituencies (GRC). Each SMC returns 1 MP while each GRC returns 3, 4, 5 or 6 MPs, one of whom must be from the Malay Community or the Indian or Other Minority Communities. This is to ensure that the minority groups are represented in Parliament. For the upcoming General Election, we will have 12 SMCs and 15 GRCs making a total of 27 constituencies and 87 MPs.
Non-constituency MPs (NCMPs) are chosen from candidates of a political party or parties not forming the Government. The Constitution and the Parliamentary Elections Act provide that for the next and subsequent Parliaments, the number of NCMPs shall be 9 less the total number of elected Opposition MPs in Parliament. The number of NCMPs coming from any one GRC shall be capped at 2, and the number from any SMC shall not be more than one.
Nominated MPs (NMPs) are Singapore Citizens nominated by a Special Select Committee of Parliament for appointment by the President. NMP does not stand for election. The Constitution provides for 9 NMPs.
The NCMPs and NMPs shall not vote on Bills pertaining to financial and constitutional matters.
- Conduct of Election
As required by law, the President of the Republic of Singapore, when advised by the Prime Minister, will:
a. dissolve Parliament; and
b. issue writ of election to the Returning Officer.
- Writ of Election
The writ will specify:
a. when the nomination of candidates is to be taken (not earlier than 5 days nor later than one month from date of the writ); and
b. the place of nomination.
- Notice of Election
After the President has issued the writ, the Returning Officer will issue a notice stipulating:
a. the date, time and place for nomination of candidates;
b. the nomination paper to be signed by :
- the candidate;
- the proposer;
- the seconder; and
- at least four assentors.
The proposer's, seconder's and assentors' names must appear in the register of electors for the SMC or GRC that the candidate or group of candidates seeks election.
c. the payment of deposit (a sum equal to 8% of the total allowances payable to MPs in the preceding year, rounded to the nearest $500).
- Nomination Day
- Candidates are required to present their nomination papers and certificates to the Returning Officer, in duplicate and in person, at the nomination centre between 11 am and 12 noon, accompanied by their proposers, seconders and at least 4 assentors.
- At the close of the nomination period, where there is only one candidate (SMC), or one group of candidates (GRC) stands nominated, the (Assistant) Returning Officer will declare at the nomination centre that the candidate or the group of candidates have been returned as MP(s).
- Where more than 1 candidate (SMC) or more than 1 group of candidates (GRC) stand nominated, the Returning Officer will adjourn the election to a date where a poll will be taken, ie. Polling Day.
- Notice of Contested Election
The Returning Officer will then issue the notice of contested elections giving:
. the date of the poll (not earlier than the 10th day, and not later than the 56th day after publication of notice);
a. the names of candidates, their symbols, proposers and seconders; and
b. the names and locations of all polling stations.
Candidates can start campaigning after the notice of contested election is issued, up to the start of the day before Polling Day (which is the Cooling-Off Day). Candidates may also be given air-time by the television stations.
The campaigning activities are restricted to:
a. conducting house-to-house visits;
b. distributing pamphlets;
c. putting up posters and banners;
d. campaigning on perambulating vehicles;
e. advertising on the Internet (within the confines of the rules regarding election advertising); and
f. holding election rallies and meetings.
No candidate is allowed to advertise over television, in newspapers, magazines or periodicals, or in a public place, unless he is authorised to do so in accordance with the directions of the Returning Officer.
The maximum amount a candidate can spend on election expenses is:
g. in the case of a GRC, an amount equal to $3.00 for each elector divided by the number of candidates in the group; or
h. in the case of an SMC, an amount equal to $3.00 for each elector.
- Cooling-off Day
The eve of Polling Day is designated as Cooling-off Day, a day when election campaigning is prohibited. This 24-hour campaign silence period is to give voters some time to reflect rationally on issues raised during the election before going to the polls.
There are some exceptions to the prohibition of campaign activities on Cooling-off Day:
. Party political broadcasts on television;
a. Reports in the newspapers, on radio and television relating to election matters;
b. Approved posters and banners that were already up, and lawful Internet advertising that was already published before the eve of Polling Day;
c. Books previously scheduled for publication;
d. The transmission of personal political views by individuals to other individuals, on a non-commercial basis, using the Internet, telephone or electronic means; and
e. Such activities or circumstances as may be prescribed by the Minister.
The above exception list, other than party political broadcast, also applies to Polling Day.
- Polling Day
Persons, whose names are found in the current register of electors of a contested constituency, will receive a poll card which will be mailed to their latest NRIC address well before Polling Day.
On Polling Day, they can go to their assigned polling stations to cast their votes any time between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm. After the close of the polls, the ballot boxes containing the votes cast will be sealed and transported to the respective counting centres.
Singapore citizens abroad who have been registered as overseas electors can cast their votes at the overseas polling stations allotted to them.
Polling overseas may take place before polling starts in Singapore but has to close before polling ends in Singapore. After an overseas poll is closed, the ballot boxes will be brought back to Singapore for counting and they must reach the Returning Officer not later than 10 days after Polling Day.
- Counting of Votes
After the count, the Assistant Returning Officer will transmit the results of counting to the Returning Officer at the principal counting place. The Returning Officer will compile the results received from all counting centres in Singapore. If the overseas votes have no impact on the outcome of the election, the Returning Officer will declare the candidate or (as the case may be) group of candidates to whom the greatest number of votes is given to be elected. If the overseas votes have impact on the outcome, the Returning Officer will announce the number of votes cast in Singapore in favour of the candidate or (as the case may be) group of candidates and will defer the declaration of the candidate or (as the case may be) group of candidates elected until the day the overseas votes are counted. After counting the overseas votes, the final results will be published in the government gazette.
(Source: Elections Department, Singapore)