Quick analysis of 2006 and 2001 Parliamentary Elections results

A lazy Sunday afternoon google docs analysis of the 2006 and 2001 parliamentary elections aka general elections done here shows the following.

In 2006, 65.8% of votes from 53.6% of all voters, gave the PAP 97.6% of seats in Parliament.

Or, in 2006 more starkly, about 2/3 of about 1/2 gives 97.6% of seats to the PAP.

Or, in 2006 and more appropriately, about 1/2 of all Singapore citizens did not get consulted at the polling station.

Five years before, in 2001, the situation was even worse. Only 67.1% votes from 33.2% voters gave the PAP 97.6% of seats in Parliament.  WOW!

Or, in 2001 more starkly, about 2/3 of about 1/3 gives 97.6% of seats to the PAP.

Or, in 2001 and more appropriately, fully 2/3 of all Singapore citizens did not get consulted at the polling station.

Minority rules win.

That’s what’s wrong with the walk-over regime of the Singaporean election process.  And, that, is a Hard Truth.

Need to look at the results from 1997 and earlier, going all the back to 1955 and run the same analysis.  It is left as an exercise for the reader to do it for yourself with the entire data set available here.

What would it be for 2011? How many citizens will get to exercise his/her human right to vote?

Will the number of people who CAN vote increase? Or will the ugliness of a walkover prevail?


  1. Unfortunately, it is very hard to design an election system that is walkover-proof, because whether or not there is a walkover is ultimately dependent on whether or not parties field candidates. The system doesn’t decide this; party leaders do.
    One possibility is to have a rule that if there is only one nominee, then the voters in that constituency can get to indicate at a poll whether they still want him as their MP. If 50 percent or more do, then he is elected. If 50 percent or more vote NO, then it means that the parliamentary seat stays empty; the electorate would rather have nobody representing them than this particular person. This can work if only a few districts return empty seats; if too many, then parliament becomes shorthanded. Also, if the MP is ex-officio head of a town council, such a system can be problematic when not only the parliamentary seat is left vacant, the town council is also left leaderless. So, not a good idea.
    I have for many years argued that a better system for Singapore is a 50/50 mix of constituency MPs and proportional representation MPs. If we assume we have a parliament of 100 MPs, then 50 are elected from 50 single-member constituencies and 50 are elected nation-wide. Each citizen gets 2 votes: one to choose his local MP and the other to choose from a party list. This way, even if one’s constituency suffers a walkover, one still goes to the polling station to participate in the proportional representation vote. At least everybody gets some say in the result.

    • Thanks, Alex.

      That is indeed what has been proposed by the now-defunct Roundtable back in 2001. The MM brushed it aside as being “western liberal”.

      I would keep the percentage for a single candidate situation to be about 30% of the voters agreeing to have the representative. Yes, the issue of no one getting the post is valid and a tweak is needed. Perhaps your 50/50 mix could work.

      My basic premise is that “if you don’t vote, you abdicate”. One must be able to make that choice of voting, spoiling the vote, not showing up to vote etc. That decision cannot be made by an administative procedure called a walkover.

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