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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Post-election thoughts

General Election 2006 is over, and bloggers can breathe a sigh of relief. No more gag order under the Parliamentary Act.

For the record, let me state the following:
  1. Prediction for the next GE: Bye bye, Aljunied GRC.
  2. Favourite name: "Suicide Squad." I'm a comic book reader, and that moniker is straight out of a DC Comics team. The team comprised of supervillains who were given a government-sanctioned second chance by performing "suicide" missions in return for a pardon. I'm not saying that the Workers' Party team members were villains. But maybe the party could publish their own comic too to reach out to more voters...
  3. Biggest loser of GE 2006: Ah, but I can't name him. Let me put it this way: voters failed to be swayed by the promises of a prominent person.
Every news report in town is hawking the PAP's 66.6% (please don't read too much into that number) mandate. Being me, I decided to see what that figure really meant in the larger picture. And that meant calculating some numbers of my own.
  1. Singapore population: 4,240,300 (as of June 2004, according to the Singapore Department of Statistics) (CIA Factbook reports the population as 4,492,150 as of June 2006, but you just can't trust those foreigners...)
  2. Electorate size: 2,158,704 (according to the Elections Department website)
  3. Electorate members who could vote (i.e. living in non-walkover constituencies): 1,222,884
  4. Electorate members who voted (i.e. those who cast their votes): 1,122,941
So what's the overall popular vote for each contesting party?
Votes won747,861183,544145,60245,934
Percentage of (d)66.60%16.34%12.97%4.09%
Percentage of (c)61.16%15.01%11.91%3.76%
Percentage of (b)34.64%8.50%6.74%2.13%
Percentage of (a)17.64%4.33%3.43%1.08%

For me, the more interesting numbers are in the last row. I feel that they more accurately reflect the "mandate" received by each party. Okay, if one insists that the mandate should come from only the electorate, then the interesting numbers would be in the second-last row.

But whichever way you slice it, the winning party's mandate is still less than 50%. This is a result of a quirk in this election: about half of the voters (47.98%) couldn't participate! I suppose this is better than in previous elections, where about 2/3 of the population/electorate couldn't vote.

I think this is a problem that needs to be addressed. One solution would be to introduce proportional voting. If I remember correctly, in Germany (and other countries), voters choose both their representatives and political party. In the Bundestag (parliament lower house), most of the seats are assigned to successful elected representatives. However, a small number of seats are also assigned to successful elected parties. Based on the votes received by each party, it is allocated a certain number of parliamentary seats. (I'm not sure how this would apply to independents or parties that don't have any contesting representatives.)

If applied to Singapore, this would solve three problems:
  1. Everyone gets to vote, and therefore voter apathy and non-participation is reduced.
  2. The mandate received by a party is more accurate of the general feeling across the entire population/electorate.
  3. An opposition voice is assured (except in the freak chance that the winning party wins 100% of the popular vote).
Of course, the chances of this happening in Singapore in the short term are about the same as a casino not being built here. And I'm not saying that it's the perfect solution. Therefore, I throw this out into the ether and hope that someone, somewhere, sometime will pluck it out and consider it for our li'l island nation.


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1 comment:

iCed said...

hihi! read your post with interest and I can say I do agree with you =) but in order for more people to vote, opposition has to increase the number of wards contested ;) and some wards are well, not as easy to contest :D

- iCed -

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