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There are currently two types of elections in Singapore. Parliamentary and presidential elections. According to the Constitution of Singapore, general elections for Parliament must be conducted within three months of the dissolution of Parliament, which has a maximum term of five years from the first sitting of Parliament, and presidential elections are conducted every six years.

The Parliament of Singapore is unicameral with 93 seats. Since the legislative assembly election in 1959, the People's Action Party (PAP) has had an overwhelming majority, and for nearly two decades was the only political party to win any seats, and has always formed the Government of Singapore.

Parliamentary elections

Main article: Parliamentary elections in Singapore

From Singapore's independence in 1965, to 1981, the People's Action Party (PAP) won every single seat in every election held, forming a parliament with no elected opposition MP for almost two decades. In Singapore, opposition politicians and trade unionists were detained in prison without trial before 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. Other oppositions had also rendered ineligible due to conviction, including those who went bankrupt.[1] Catherine Lim argues that a climate of fear hurts Singapore.[2][3]

In the eighties, opposition politicians began being elected in parliament with J. B. Jeyaretnam and Chiam See Tong, along with the creation of two schemes in the eighties: the Non-constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) scheme awarding to the candidates with the best result among non-elected oppositions in the eighties, and a group of nonpartisans collectively known as Nominated Member of Parliament. Further amendments resulted in a minimum quota of number of oppositions to determine the number of NCMPs, from three members to nine in 2010s, then to 12 in 2020s.

The 1988 elections introduced the Group Representation Constituency (GRC), a plurality General ticket voting system for a team of between three and six candidates, to improve the ethnicity representation in Parliament and town council management; certain analysis crititized the scheme as a form of gerrymandering to reduce opposition representation,[4] most notably where teams in a GRC had been elected uncontested on consecutive elections.[5] In each election leading up to nominations, the Elections Department, determines electoral boundaries without the need of parliamentary approval, was established as part of the executive branch under the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), rather than as an independent body;[6][7] analysists also criticize the process of electoral engineering, whereas poll results would determine whether if the constituency with a poor result would be redistricted to neighbouring constituencies, [8] though that the ELD decline to reveal the reasons of redistriction except for population increase in planning areas and electorate balancing.[9] In one notable scenario, both Cheng San and Eunos GRC were examples of constituencies dissolved by the Elections Department after opposition parties gained ground in elections, with voters redistributed to other constituencies; similarly, Bukit Batok and Yuhua were also absorbed into neighbouring GRCs due to a close result, though they were returned to SMCs after years of absence.[7]

However, Freedom House has noted that elections in Singapore are technically free of electoral fraud.[10] Throughout the history of the Republic of Singapore, hundreds of politicians have been elected in Parliament, of whom majority of unique candidates represent the governing People's Action Party including late stalwarts like Lee Khoon Choy.[11] Since 1965, 19 opposition politicians have been elected into Parliament, including J. B. Jeyaretnam, Chiam See Tong, Low Thia Khiang, Ling How Doong, Cheo Chai Chen, Chen Show Mao, Yaw Shin Leong, Png Eng Huat, Lee Li Lian, and also ten incumbent candidates from the Workers' Party including Secretary-general and opposition leader Pritam Singh, as well as the Chairwoman and first female MP-elect Sylvia Lim and first Malay MP-elect Faisal Manap.

2020 general election

Main article: 2020 Singaporean general election

A general election was called on 23 June 2020,[12] with Singaporeans electing their Members of Parliament (MPs) on 10 July 2020.[13]

People's Action Party1,527,49161.23830
Workers' Party279,92211.2210+4
Progress Singapore Party253,99610.180New
Singapore Democratic Party111,0544.4500
National Solidarity Party93,6533.7500
Peoples Voice59,1832.370New
Reform Party54,5992.1900
Singapore People's Party37,9981.5200
Singapore Democratic Alliance37,2371.4900
Red Dot United31,2601.250New
People's Power Party7,4890.3000
Valid votes2,494,53798.20
Invalid/blank votes45,8221.80
Total votes2,540,359100.00
Registered voters/turnout2,651,43595.81
Source: Singapore Elections

Presidential elections

Main article: Presidential elections in Singapore

Presidential elections have been held since 1993. Under the "Presidential Elections Act",[14] to run for president, one must obtain a "Certificate of Eligibility" from the Presidential Elections Committee. These conditions are:

(a) being and having been found or declared to be of unsound mind;
(b) being an undischarged bankrupt;
(c) holding an office of profit;
(d) having been nominated for election to Parliament or the office of President or having acted as election agent to a person so nominated, failing to lodge any return of election expenses required by law within the time and in the manner so required;
(e) having been convicted of an offence by a court of law in Singapore or Malaysia and sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than one year or to a fine of not less than S$2,000 and having not received a free pardon, provided that where the conviction is by a court of law in Malaysia, the person shall not be disqualified unless the offence is also one which, had it been committed in Singapore, would have been punishable by a court of law in Singapore;[20]
(f) having voluntarily acquired the citizenship of, or exercised rights of citizenship in, a foreign country, or having made a declaration of allegiance to a foreign country;[21]
(g) being disqualified under any law relating to offences in connection with elections to Parliament or the office of President by reason of having been convicted of such an offence or having in proceedings relating to such an election been proved guilty of an act constituting such an offence.

Because of the stringent requirements needed to run for presidential elections, only three out of the seven elections had contests (1993, 2011 and 2023), while the rest were walkovers. An amendment to the Constitution in 2016 saw the 2017 election become reserved for a certain community (Malay community in the case), resulting in that year's election to cause a walkover as well. To date, 10 candidates had awarded the Certificate of Eligibility (with two being eligible twice), of which five candidates were president-elect (only one candidate, S. R. Nathan, had served for two terms and had no prior affiliation with the incumbent ruling People's Action Party)


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.

Past elections

Legislative Council elections

Legislative Assembly elections

As State of Malaysia

Parliamentary elections

Main article: Parliamentary elections in Singapore

Other elections

Upcoming election[edit]

See also


  1. ^ Nair, Gopalan. "Singapore Dissident". Singapore Dissident. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  2. ^ Loo, Daryl (14 December 2007). "Climate of fear hurts Singapore: author". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  3. ^ Freedom House. "Freedom of the World 2011 Singapore report". Archived from the original on 7 June 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  4. ^ Channel NewsAsia, "More detailed explanation needed to fend off gerrymandering claims: Analysts Archived 28 July 2015 at the Wayback Machine", August 3, 2015
  5. ^ Koh, Gillian (27 August 2013). "GRC system and politics of inclusion" (PDF). The Straits Times. Retrieved 27 August 2017.
  6. ^ Prime Minister's Office, Our Departments Archived 7 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ a b Tan, Netina (14 July 2013). "Manipulating electoral laws in Singapore, Electoral Studies". Electoral Studies (Special Symposium: The new research agenda on electoral integrity). doi:10.1016/j.electstud.2013.07.014. Retrieved 27 August 2017.
  8. ^ Electoral Engineering: Voting Rules and Political Behavior, Pippa Norris
  9. ^ "Singapore Parliament Reports - Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (Amendment) Bill". 26 April 2010. Archived from the original on 27 August 2017. Retrieved 27 August 2017.
  10. ^ "Map of Freedom in the World: Singapore (2009)". Freedom House. Retrieved 19 April 2011.
  11. ^ Ong, Andrea (3 July 2013). "Ex-MP and diplomat launches book on multi-ethnic Chinese descendants in SEA". The Straits Times. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  12. ^ "PM Lee calls for polls; Parliament dissolved and writ issued for General Election". TODAYonline. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  13. ^ "GE2020: Nomination Day on June 30; Polling Day on July 10". TODAYOnline. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  14. ^ "PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS ACT". Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  15. ^ Constitution, Art. 19(2)(a).
  16. ^ Constitution, Art. 19(2)(b).
  17. ^ Constitution, Art. 19(2)(c) read with Art. 44(2)(c).
  18. ^ Constitution, Art. 19(2)(c) read with Art. 44(2)(d).
  19. ^ Constitution, Art. 19(2)(d) read with Art. 45.
  20. ^ The disqualification of a person under clauses (d) and (e) may be removed by the President and shall, if not so removed, cease at the end of five years beginning from the date on which the return mentioned in clause (d) was required to be lodged or, as the case may be, the date on which the person convicted as mentioned in clause (e) was released from custody or the date on which the fine mentioned in clause (1) (e) was imposed on such person: Constitution, Art. 45(2).
  21. ^ A person shall not be disqualified under this clause by reason only of anything done by him before he became a citizen of Singapore: Constitution, Art. 45(2). In clause (f), "foreign country" does not include any part of the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland: Art. 45(3).
  22. ^ Constitution, Art. 19(2)(e).
  23. ^ Constitution, Art. 19(2)(f).
  24. ^ Constitution, Art. 19(3)(a).
  25. ^ Constitution, Art. 19(3)(b) read with the Fifth Schedule.
  26. ^ Constitution, Art. 19(4), read with Art. 19(7).
  27. ^ Constitution, Art. 19(3)(c) and Art 19(4)(b).