There are currently two types of elections in Singapore: parliamentary and presidential elections.

According to the constitution of Singapore general elections must be conducted within 5 years of the first sitting of parliament. Presidential elections are conducted every 6 years.

The parliament of Singapore is unicameral with 87 seats. Since the legislative assembly election in 1959, the government of Singapore has always been formed by the People's Action Party with an overwhelming majority, and in several elections the only party elected.

Parliamentary electionsEdit

From Singapore's independence in 1965 to 1981, the People's Action Party won every single seat in every election held, forming a parliament with no elected opposition MP for almost two decades.

In 1984, opposition politicians secured an elected seat in parliament for the first time in a general election. 2 seats out of 74 seats went to opposition politicians. In 1988, the opposition won 1 seat out of 77 seats. In 1991, the opposition won 4 seats out of 81 seats. In 1997, 2001 and 2006, the opposition secured 2 seats for each respective election.

Throughout the history of the Republic of Singapore, only 12 different opposition politicians have ever been elected into parliament. They are as listed in the following tables:

Past Elected Opposition Parliamentarians

Name Affiliated Party Term Constituency
Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam Template:SG/WP 1981 - 1986 Anson SMC
Chiam See Tong Template:SG/SDP
1984 - 1996
1997 - 2011
Potong Pasir SMC
Ling How Doong Template:SG/SDP 1991 - 1997 Bukit Gombak SMC
Cheo Chai Chen Template:SG/SDP 1991 - 1997 Nee Soon Central SMC
Yaw Shin Leong Template:SG/WP 2011 - 2012 Hougang SMC

Current Elected Opposition Parliamentarians

Name Affiliated Party Term Constituency
Low Thia Khiang Template:SG/WP 1991 - incumbent Hougang SMC, Aljunied GRC
Lim Swee Lian Sylvia Template:SG/WP 2011 - incumbent Aljunied GRC
Chen Show Mao Template:SG/WP 2011 - incumbent Aljunied GRC
Pritam Singh Template:SG/WP 2011 - incumbent Aljunied GRC
Muhamad Faisal bin Abdul Manap Template:SG/WP 2011 - incumbent Aljunied GRC
Png Eng Huat Template:SG/WP 2012 - incumbent Hougang SMC
Lee Li Lian Template:SG/WP 2013 - incumbent Punggol East SMC

The campaigning time for elections in Singapore is very short. The legal minimum campaign time, from when the election is announced to polling day, is nine days. This minimum campaigning time is generally used in Singaporean elections.[1] The announcement of the election follows the announcement of new constituency boundaries.[1]

Walkover rates for parliamentary elections are extremely high when compared to international norms. Since 1991, walkover rates have hovered around 50% for each election. This means that around 50% of the seats of each election are uncontested and the People's Action Party wins them by default without constituents having to cast a single vote. Even before the votes are counted, the PAP has more or less won the election due to extremely high walkover rates.

The electoral system reduces the chances of opposition representation in parliament with a "winner takes all" system for Group Representation Constituencies. However, Freedom House has noted that elections in Singapore are technically free of electoral fraud.[2]

Presidential electionsEdit

Presidential elections have been held since 1993. Under the "Presidential Elections Act",[3] to run for president, one must obtain a "certificate of eligibility" from the Presidential Elections Committee. To obtain this certificate, one must be:

1. a person of integrity, good character and reputation; and

2. has held for at least 3 years a cabinet ministerial post, headed a statutory board, or been a CEO of a company incorporated in Singapore worth over $100 million in paid-up capital, or has equivalent management experience.

Because of the high requirements needed to run for presidential elections, many presidential elections have been uncontested. All presidential elections have been walkovers except for the first one, held in 1993 which was contested by two people, and the 2011 one, contested by four people. The first presidential election was won by Ong Teng Cheong, a former member of the PAP. Subsequent presidential elections in 1999 and 2005 have been won by S. R. Nathan through walkovers.

The 2011 presidential election was contested by Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, Dr Tan Cheng Bock, Tan Jee Say and Tan Kin Lian. All candidates except Tan Jee Say were former members of the PAP. The election was won by Tony Tan with a margin of 0.34% over Tan Cheng Bock.

Possible reasons for high walkover ratesEdit

Two principal reasons have been suggested for the large number of uncontested elections in Singapore.

Populace is contented with the governmentEdit

The first possibility is that the Singapore populace is fully contented with the government and does not see the need for a shadow cabinet or working opposition team in parliament.Template:Citation needed

This is due to the effectiveness of the Singapore government in providing a high standard of living and low unemployment rate in SingaporeTemplate:Citation needed, as well as the lack of corruption (Singapore is ranked among the "least corrupt" by the Corruption Perceptions Index).Template:Citation needed However, this does not explain why other comparable countries have significant opposition parties.

Opposition viewsEdit

The second possibility is that the Singapore populace is enveloped in a climate of fear, hence they do not dare to run for elections. Dr Catherine Lim has spoken about this "climate of fear" many times. She argues that a climate of fear hurts Singapore.[4]

In Singapore, opposition politicians and trade unionists were detained in prison without trial before in the 1960s and early 1970s. Many such as Lim Chin Siong, Said Zahari and Lim Hock Siew were accused by the government of being involved in subversive communist struggles. Among them, Chia Thye Poh was detained the longest; he was detained for 23 years without any trial.

In 1988, Francis Seow, former solicitor general of Singapore and opposition politician, was also detained without trial. He was later charged with tax evasion but he fled overseas and sought asylum successfully in the USA. He was convicted of tax evasion in absentia.

Prominent opposition politicians such as Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam and Chee Soon Juan have also been sued for defamation by government politicians under Singapore's strict libel laws. They were both bankrupted and made to pay a few hundred thousand dollars in compensation.

Tang Liang Hong, another opposition politician and a former solicitor, was also sued for defamation by government politicians in 1997. He was convicted of defamation and ended up bankrupt. He subsequently left Singapore for Australia. In the 1990s, another Worker Party member Gopalan Nair left Singapore and obtained asylum successfully in the USA.

In recent years, Chee Soon Juan and his party members have been jailed for assembling and speaking in public without a police permit. Police permits are required for public speeches and assemblies of even a single person.[5] Chee was jailed in 2010 again for gathering with party members to distribute his party's flyers without a police permit.


A referendum may also be held for important national issues, although it has been held only once in Singapore's political history for the 1962 merger referendum. Calls for a national referendum has been made since then, including the issue over the building of casinos in Singapore.


2011 presidential electionEdit

Main article: Singaporean presidential election, 2011

Template:Singaporean presidential election, 2011

2011 general electionEdit

Main article: Singaporean general election, 2011

Electoral boundariesEdit

Constituency Party Voters
Aljunied GRC (Kaki Bukit, Eunos, Bedok Reservoir-Punggol, Paya Lebar, Serangoon) People's Action Party
Ang Mo Kio GRC (Cheng San, Jalan Kayu, Kebun Baru, Teck Ghee, Sengkang West, Nee Soon South, Ang Mo Kio-Hougang) People's Action Party
Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC (Bishan East, Bishan North, Toa Payoh East, Toa Payoh Central, Thomson) People's Action Party
Bukit Panjang People's Action Party
Choa Chu Kang GRC (Keat Hong, Chua Chu Kang, Yew Tee, Nanyang, Bukit Gombak) People's Action Party 158,648
East Coast GRC (Bedok, Fengshan, Kampong Chai Chee, Siglap, Changi-Simei) People's Action Party
Holland-Bukit Timah GRC (Bukit Timah, Buona Vista, Cashew, Ulu Pandan, Zhenghua) People's Action Party
Hong Kah North People's Action Party 27,701
Hougang Workers' Party
Jalan Besar GRC (Jalan Besar, Kolam Ayer, Kampong Glam, Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng) People's Action Party
Joo Chiat People's Action Party
Jurong GRC (Bukit Batok, Bukit Batok East, Jurong Central, Taman Jurong, Yuhua) People's Action Party
MacPherson People's Action Party
Marine Parade GRC (Marine Parade, Geylang Serai, Kampong Ubi-Kembangan, Mountbatten, Braddell Heights) People's Action Party
Nee Soon Central People's Action Party
Nee Soon East People's Action Party
Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC (Pasir Ris East, Pasir Ris South, Pasir Ris West, Punggol Central, Punggol North, Punggol East) People's Action Party
Potong Pasir Singapore Democratic Alliance
Sembawang GRC (Sembawang, Canberra, Chong Pang, Woodlands, Marsiling, Admiralty) People's Action Party
Sengkang West People's Action Party
Tampines GRC (Tampines Changkat, Tampines East, Tampines West, Tampines Central, Tampines North) People's Action Party
Tanjong Pagar GRC (Tanjong Pagar, Tiong Bahru, Radin Mas, Queenstown, Tanglin-Cairnhill, Moulmein) People's Action Party
West Coast GRC (Telok Blangah, Clementi, West Coast, Pasir Panjang, Boon Lay) People's Action Party
Yio Chu Kang People's Action Party

2006 general electionEdit

Main article: Singaporean general election, 2006

Template:Singapore general election, 2006

2005 presidential electionEdit

Main article: Singaporean presidential election, 2005

The Singapore presidential election of 2005 was to be held on 27 August 2005 to elect the president of Singapore. Since on August 13, 2005, the Presidential Elections Committee announced that Sellapan Ramanathan was the only candidate that had received the certificate of eligibility, he was named the next president without election.

Template:Singapore presidential election, 2005

More info: Singapore presidential election, 2005.

Past electionsEdit

Legislative Council electionsEdit

Main article: Legislative Council elections in Singapore

Legislative Assembly electionsEdit

Main article: Legislative Assembly elections in Singapore

Parliamentary electionsEdit

Main article: Parliamentary elections in Singapore

Other electionsEdit

Municipal Commission electionsEdit

City Council electionsEdit

Main article: City Council elections in Singapore

National referendumsEdit

Federal and State elections (Malaysia)Edit

Presidential electionsEdit

Main article: Presidential elections in Singapore

Party electionEdit

See alsoEdit



  1. 1.0 1.1 Diane K. Muazy and R. S. Milne, Singapore Under the People's Action Party (London, 2002), p. 143.
  2. Script error
  4. Script error
  5. Script error



External linksEdit

Template:Library resources box Template:Commons category

Template:Singaporean elections Template:Singapore topics Template:Asia topic

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