Votker series: Poll no. 2

Link to survey. At every election for the past 22 years, we’ve not only been making changes to constituency boundaries, which may be unavoidable given new housing developments, we’ve also been screwing the electoral system.

Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs) were first introduced for the 1988 election. Then, there were just a twelve GRCs of three members each and 42 single-member constituencies (SMCs). By 2006, GRCs had grown to five or six members and together encompass nearly 90 percent of the electorate.

In May 2009, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told Parliament that at the next election, the average size of GRCs will shrink slightly to no more than five members. There will also be an increase in the number of SMCs from nine (in 2006) to at least twelve. See GRCs to shrink, but they will stay.

At the same time, the maximum number of Non-Constituency Members of Parliament (NCMPs) will be increased to nine. The actual number of NCMPs for each parliament will be nine less the number of opposition MPs directly elected. The necessary legislation to give effect to this was passed in April this year.

Anytime now, the Elections Department is expected to announce the boundary changes for the next election. It will be interesting to see if they make much difference to the uphill task of opposition parties in Singapore. The only thing certain is that there will be at least nine opposition voices in the next parliament, whether as directly elected MPs or as NCMPs.

Poll No. 2 is intended to take stock of readers’ opinion on various aspects of electoral arrangements. For example, do you even like GRCs at all, slight shrinkage notwithstanding? Are they needed to ensure minority-race representation?

Like Poll No. 1, it should take no more than 3 or 4 minutes of your time. Thanks in advance for participating. Link to survey.

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