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Tuesday January 23rd 2018

Will PAP majority votes go below 50% and still retain power in the next election?

All signs point to a GE 2015 as the  Prime Minister revealed in Parliament this week that the Electoral Boundary Review Committee (EBRC) has  been formed 2 months ago without the knowledge of the opposition parties.

The formation of EBRC is the surest sign that election is close at hand as boundaries are redrawn before the President closes the Parliament and calls for a general election.

Mr Lee has instructed the committee to reduce the average size of the Group Representation Constituency (GRC) to 5, and to have at least 12 single-member constituencies (SMCs).

In the 2011 General Election (GE), there was a total of 12 SMCs and 15 GRCs, with an average size of five members.

Smaller GRCs invite more 3-cornered fights and benefit PAP

Smaller GRCs however could be easier to contest by the opposition parties who often could not get the required number of candidates due to the sheer size of the previous GRC.

This could mean more three-cornered fights in GRCs that have four or fewer members which logically will benefit the PAP more as the opposition voters will split their votes especially if big guns like WP and SDP enter the fray.

The 4-cornered byelection contest in Punggol East is not really a true reflection of how opposition votes will be splitted up in a multi-cornered contest in a general election as two of the other parties are minions and could not really win the hearts and minds of the people.

Understandably, both the parties lost their deposits garnering less than 1000 votes each in that contest.

GRCs such as Tampines, Tg Pagar, Marine Parade and Pasir Ris-Punggol are potential 3-cornered battles and how the electorate will vote is a interesting preposition especially if big boys enter the contest.

As usual, parties like WP and SDP will likely garner more of the opposition votes due to their winning history and popularity.

Smaller and newer parties will probably capture less than 10% of the total votes cast with some even  losing their deposit in the process if they join the big boys in three or four corner fights.

It is best smaller and newer parties do not engage in multi-corner fights with the big guns but instead focus on tackling the incumbent one-on-one to have any decent chance of winning.

At this stages, it is foreseeable that PAP has a strong loyal vote base of an average of 50-55% throughout all the constituencies whereas the opposition has a 40 to 45% fan base depending on which party and the precinct it contested.

Workers’ Party voter base strength averages between 42% to 45% based on results from the previous election and a swing vote of 5% is not difficult to achieve.

They contested East Coast GRC with a 5% percentage loss in GE 2011 and this area has the strongest potential to fall especially with the unpopular Manpower minister Lim Swee Say helming the PAP team.

All eyes will be on this GRC but with new boundary changes coming up, we may see a different East Coast GRC possibly smaller and with lesser members.

Loss Of Aljunied GRC  in GE 2011 bad omen for PAP?

The loss of Aljunied GRC has suddenly took away two ministers and a minister in the making. PAP can’t afford to lose more ministers in the next election as it took years to mould someone to be of ministerial material.

More importantly, such losses will also drain confidence from within the cabinet who will now be standing for election worrying that their jobs will be next on the line if voters go against them.

Unpopular minister such as Lui Tuck Yew, Tan Chuan Jin and Khaw Boon Wan all have reasons to worry as they helm difficult ministries that may implicate them in the coming election.

Members of Parliament (MP) still have their day jobs to count on if they lose their seats but ministers who are on government’s full payroll have nothing to fall back on.

Political analysts have anticipate a fierce election battle ahead with a host of issues that the opposition  can count on to draw the crowd in their favour.

Issues such as the population influx, CPF savings, AGO audit into government lapses and SMRT transportation woes provide ready ammunition for the opposition to fire on confidently.

Will PAP retain power despite losing more majority votes even to below 50%?

During the previous election, we saw a 6.46% vote swing against the PAP from the 2006 elections to 60.14%, its lowest since independence.

Amazingly, it won 81 out of 87 seats even though it only has 61% of the people’s votes.

The next question to ask is – will PAP go down further to say 50 – 55% of the popular votes and still retain power with majority of the seats intact?

All signs point to a lowering of the incumbent popular votes due to a host of problems that they could not resolve since GE 2011.

The death of LKY also means some elderly may vote against the incumbent due to the loss of the loyalty factor.

With a estimated electorate strength of close to 2.3 million this time round (it was 2.2 million in GE 2011), a 5% vote swing means 115,000 new PAP voters have decided to go against the government and choose the opposition.

We are also looking at a potential 150,000 new citizen voters joining the fray this time round with many voting loyally for the PAP due to various factors.

Moreover, with more three-cornered fights envisaged due to the smaller GRCs, we may see more votes being splitted up.

For example, for constituencies contested by the big three – namely PAP, WP and SDP – a voting pattern of say 40-30-30 could be the norm for GE 2015.

This could mean a drastic loss of popular votes for the incumbent maybe even causing it to lose close to 10% of the majority votes but yet they will still win the election and form the next government with the majority of seats intact.

GRCs that stand a higher chance of losing to the opposition include East Coast, Moulmein-Kallang and Tampines – all with an average opposition vote base of around 44% from the previous election and a very angry middle class with a mind of their own.

The PAP will not mind losing more majority votes but still retain the seats they contest even though the winning margin are in the 40-percentile but it will be disastrous for them if they lose the seats outright to the opposition like what happened to Aljunied GRC and Punggol-East SMC.

That will really set them back.

Written by Gilbert Goh

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2 Responses to “Will PAP majority votes go below 50% and still retain power in the next election?”

  1. tankoktim says:


    Who want to win the election and run the govt?

    Which Opp party will assemble a team of 50 candidates of high calibre and credibility to win against the PAP?

    Have 50 candidates who are superior or far better than those from the PAP at the GE to win handsomely.

    Have 50 MPs elected to form the Cabinet with ministers far better than those put up by the PAP.

    Is there such a plan of action for this GE by any of the Opp parties?

    Or, NATO?

  2. sal says:

    @ Tankoktim, you dont need 50 people to take care a small city like Spore….its all wayang. Sporr is like Melb city, you go and check how many people run the Melb council?

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