18 September 2015
The PAP’s nearly 10 percent point increase in popular vote from the 2011 general election is as much a reflection of the electorate’s rousing endorsement of the existing government as it is of the opposition’s continued failure to speak to the majority of the people.
The Singapore opposition parties’ overarching call to the people, regardless of the specifics in their election manifestos, had been on the value of having enough opposition members elected into office to build a base for sufficient checks and balances in government, and to contribute alternative voices toward more robust policy-making: 70% of the electorate roundly rejected that call to the incredulous bewilderment of the rest of the nation.
The opposition is left at a loss, unable to adequately explain why it has failed to build on its seemingly 2011 breakthrough when it won the highest number of parliamentary seats since the country’s independence. Notwithstanding the structural and institutional challenges faced by the opposition, its ability to win in future elections will rest on its willingness to recognise and accept the electorate’s voting proclivities; and perhaps more importantly to re-strategise with a party (or an alliance of parties) that is capable of competing with the PAP at the political centre where the majority of the people is.
… Saleena Saleem is an Associate Research Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 16/11/2015