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What would happen to Singapore if the PAP loses the 2020 General Election (GE2020)?

By July 4, 2020Current

TL;DR – Pritam Singh might have to fight Chee Soon Juan and Tan Cheng Bock and see who becomes the Prime Minister of Singapore.

First, let’s get some basic business right. After the latest drawing up of electoral boundaries, we’re looking at 93 seats in Parliament.

A total of 11 political parties and one independent candidate are contesting for these 93 seats.

Yes, all 93 out of 93 seats are being contested in this election.

So while not probable, we cannot deny the fact that it is entirely possible for the incumbent – People’s Action Party (PAP) – to lose all the seats.

Why? Because all seats are being contested, so yea, the possibility of opposition parties winning every seat is there.

Sure, the PAP probably won’t be voted out of all 93 seats. Cannot be so jialat or so suay, right??

But hey, back in 2016, nobody would have guessed that Britons would vote for Brexit in the referendum, or that Clinton would lose the election.

Look at where we are now. Even if he hasn’t built that darned wall, Trump’s POTUS.

Next, let’s consider things more realistically. We have eleven political parties and one independent candidate who is a former SAF engineer. Let’s give him some airtime here.

Now let’s just look at the more “serious” ones.

Other than the incumbent – People’s Action Party (PAP) – fielding candidates for all 93 seats, we also have these three political parties with the most number of candidates:

  • PSP with 24 candidates
  • WP with 21 candidates
  • SDP with 11 candidates
  • PSP + WP + SDP = Total got 56 candidates

Parliament has 93 seats, which means that you only need to have more than 47 seats to form a government. Because 93 divided by 2.

Do you know what this mean? This means that if these three parties’ candidates win, then here are three possibilities of what would happen:

One, all three opposition parties can agree to join forces and they will outnumber the PAP even if it is the party with the single largest number of votes.

That’s what happened in Malaysia in the last round of election, all the small parties formed a coalition government. And yes, you can see how much “good” that was for the country. And has anything really changed? Except for the Prime Minister, hehe.

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Two, since PAP will still be the party with the single largest number of votes, it could also still govern as a minority Government if the other opposition parties don’t join forces to outnumber PAP’s number of seats.

Three, the PAP can find an opposition party it’s willing to work with and vice versa to form government.

We have to be prepared that there really is this possibility.

Another thing to consider is it is also within reason to imagine that the PAP team may deem this as a failure to secure the mandate of the people, and decline to form the government.

So there, it’s possible that come July 11, 2020, Singapore might no longer be under PAP rule.

Still reading up till now? Well, depending on which side of the fence you are, you will either think I’m fearmongering, or maybe I’m encouraging you to VTO because it’s possible to have a new government after Friday.

So now, what would happen to Singapore if the PAP loses the election?

For one, Dr M will be very happy. It’s probably his second top wish to see a change of government in Singapore. Too bad we cannot be top in this list right now, cos he probably wants even more to be Prime Minister AGAIN.

So if the three bigger parties do win all the seats they contest in, they will have to decide if they want to join forces with PAP or if the three of them want to come together.

OMFG I cannot imagine the three parties coming together to become our new Government. I mean one of these people will be our Prime Minister and they will pick their best people to form the Cabinet of Ministers too. Do they even have good enough people of ministerial calibre?

You know like representing Singapore the way Dr Vivian Balakrishnan did in that he-won-a-million-hearts CNBC interview and this one with The Hill where the host actually said at the end that the interview was like a master class!

 

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It is highly unlikely that the opposition parties can form a coalition government properly.

The various “figureheads” will start a huge power struggle to determine who gets to be Prime Minister and whom in their teams get to be Ministers.

Now I’m imagining I’m Pritam Singh of the Workers’ Party.

“Wah, I have to fight Chee Soon Juan and Tan Cheng Bock and see which one of us becomes the Prime Minister of Singapore. And we have to also decide which of our people takes on which ministerial portfolio *SHUDDERS*

Can we even come to some consensus how to run the country and how to chart the way forward? Can we even agree on things and get any bills passed?”

And remember this, the Workers’ Party has stated categorically that they are running this election with the hope to enter parliament as an OPPOSITION. They do NOT want to form the government. So in the event of a freak election, my guess is the Workers’ Party would prefer as close to status quo as possible. So most likely, they will seek an alliance with PAP.

These two parties actually share more common ground than what they supporters would think or assume.

After all, they’re PAP-lite or some people say, PAP-like.

Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said this too in the GE2020 Political Debate on Monday (5:30 mark).

But what if the PAP doesn’t want to form any alliance with any party?

And the other three parties also cannot come to an agreement to form a coalition government?

Well, in the immediate and shortish term, things will still run, maybe not as smoothly as before as our public administration and all systems are basically quite efficient engines. Yes, this is where we thank the PAP for their 50+ years of work.

And yes too, we’ve repaid them by voting them out despite them always delivering on their promises. Just cos we want diversity and check-and-balance in Parliament.

So, in the initial days and weeks, we may not feel that anything has changed. Public service operations on a day to day basis don’t usually involve political officeholders. So life goes on.

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The difference will come later. Whoever in power may want to change policies or procedures or regulations, then we’ll start feeling the difference.

Anyway, the fact remains that currently, no opposition party is even attempting to win all the seats of parliament. They’re not running to deny PAP of a mandate. This part is clear. These parties are not playing this GE game to win it, but to game the system for their little corners.

Before I go, I also want to address the blank cheque issue. It appeals to our practical minds that we should not give any political party a blank cheque, cos there’s the possibility of the government going rogue.

But may I remind you that for the longest time, PAP has been using the so-called blank cheque to do good, not evil. Four generations of Singaporeans have had their lives improved under PAP’s government. They have always been accountable. And if they’re not? We’ll still get to vote them out after a term of government.

No, I’m not trying to scaremonger anyone into voting for PAP.

But we should vote with conviction and vote for who we want to govern, be it PAP, WP or another party.

Ex-NMP Calvin Cheng summed it up very neatly.

VOTER EDUCATION: DO NOT VOTE TACTICALLY

Tactical voting warps the democratic process.

If everyone thinks that the opposition is going to make big wins, and votes for the PAP, the opposition will lose big time!

If everyone thinks that the PAP will surely win, and votes for the opposition, the PAP will lose!

Vote for who you want to govern, be it PAP, WP or another party.

Do not vote tactically.

You will end up with the opposite result to the one you expect.

– Calvin Cheng

Please share. Important voter education.

 

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Gabrielle Teo

Author Gabrielle Teo

I read lots, and I also spend an indecent amount of time trying to get my mostly unpopular opinions published. Oh, I argue a lot with fellow Singaporeans who complain incessantly about Singapore too.

More posts by Gabrielle Teo

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Y Tan says:

    What is missing in your analysis? The investors. They think long term which is why JTC leases are thirty years. We do not even need a coalition govt with PAP in the driver seat. Once PAP gets less than say, 55% of the votes, the investors will think three times. They sense a trend and they know Singapore narrow margin for error. The people who will lose their jobs are not the pitrams, the jamues or the leon peraras, but the mass of workers who were fooled by the empty promises
    Sorry, this is a fact

  • Gaddafi says:

    It’s not going to happen. The opposition is too much of an unknown aside from WP and PSP in West Coast. Its the same electorate in a crisis situation and history has shown us that voters tend to adopt the flight to safety approach. Vote swings of 10% or more are rare. Furthermore the first past the post system is in favour of PAP.

    Don’t compare us to Malaysia please. The opposition has only 6 seats and u expect people to believe that they will suddenly win 46? The opposition already held some states in Malaysia. It would be hailed as a victory for the opposition if they finally win more than 10 seats.

    Watch this for a more balanced view.
    https://youtu.be/RmnsWES3M5k

  • Gaddy says:

    It’s not going to happen. Vote swings like this don’t happen overnight. Quickly, name me who’s contesting in Sembawang, Nee Soon, Jurong, Marsiling, Tampines, Punggol Pasir Ris. Some of them will be lucky to get their deposit back.

    WP would be happy to just retain Aljinued and Hougang.

    Watch this for a more balanced view.
    https://youtu.be/RmnsWES3M5k

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