Asian Barometer Survey Wave 4
By QNA Research Lab
- Basic information
The 2014 Asian Barometer Survey covered the entire island of Singapore.
The president is the head of state and primarily a symbolic figure with limited custodial powers. These allow the president to serve as a check on specific areas of governance. This includes the power to veto the spending of Singapore’s past reserves and the appointment of persons to key public sector positions, where the president is obliged to consult the Council of Presidential Advisers on. The president also is endowed with the powers to overrule representatives of the government in the specific instances of detentions under the Internal Security Act, investigations on corruption, and for the maintenance of religious harmony. For these limited but important powers, the President is elected by Singaporeans once every six years as is expected to have no affiliation to political parties (Constitution, Cap. 1; Koh, 2011).
The prime minister on the other hand is the head of government, and an elected member of the winning party that is able to command the confidence of the members of Parliament (Constitution, Cap. 1, Sec. 24(1)). As a Western parliamentary system, this is where the executive power resides in the country – the Prime Minister and his Cabinet who are elected Members of Parliament who have the confidence of the legislature, which is Parliament.
The president and parliament are directly elected by citizens. However, the Singapore instrument only surveys respondents on the parliamentary election.
As mentioned above, Singapore employs the use of a unicameral parliamentary, first-past-the-post system, which is modelled after the Westminster system. The member of the winning political party that is able to command the confidence of parliament becomes the prime minister (Constitution, Cap.1, Sec. 24(1)).
Candidates contest in both Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs) and Singapore Member Constituencies (SMCs). Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs) see a group of candidates contest collectively for a particular constituency, and where there as at least one member from the minority ethnicity (Malay, Indian or Others). The Malay, Indian and Other Minority Communities Committees appointed by the President, nominated by the Presidential Council for Minority Rights, decide which ethnicity the minority candidate should belong to in each GRC (Parliamentary Elections Act, Cap. 218, Sec 27 A-C).
Parliament also consists of non-elected members of Parliament. This sees top opposition losing candidates appointed as Non-Constituency Members of Parliament, and Nominated Members of Parliament selected to represent the diverse views in society.
The most recent general parliamentary election was held in 2011. The People’s Action Party won the election with 60.1% of the votes, down from 66.6% in 2006.