Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Taiwan election, any lessons for Singapore? Below 50% of votes, KMT is still the parliament majority

Unless the PAP is not bale to come with enough candidates due to fear of losing and low pay, they will continue to be in power for quite a long time.

Judging from the recent election in Taiwan, although declining, the PAP will not lose its majority in the near term. It may not decline as fast as what we wanted it to be.  It is a downward trend but even it goes below to 50%, the PAP can still have a majority in parliament as experience in Taiwan.  Voters who want to see an alternative government will have to wait for few more elections. To be realistic, wining more GRCs are the best we can hope for.   

Last Saturday’s Taiwan election saw the re-election of Ma Ying-jeou with 51% of votes in the Presidential election.  Taiwan Election Commission also called for the election of legislators (members of parliament) on the same day.  They practice one constituency 2 votes system: one ballot paper for the directly elected MPs, another ballot paper for the Party votes.    The second ballot paper is to vote the party the voters prefer, i.e. a kind of proportional representation with at least 5% of the total votes to qualify for MP seats.   

Here are the results of the 2012 Taiwan Legislation Election:

Constituency votes (%)
Constituency MPs (seats)
Party  votes
MP seats based on  Party votes


KMT share



KMT: Kuomintang DPP: Democratic Progress Party TSU: Taiwan Solidarity Union PFP: People First

Taiwan parliament has only 113 MPs and the new parliament will have 64 KMT MPS.  This translates into 56.6% of the MP seats and gives the simple parliament majority to KMT. KMT now controls both the Presidential office and the parliament with reduced majority. 

With below 50% of total legislative votes: 48.18% of constituency votes and 44.55% of party votes, KMT is still holding on the power.  

In Singapore, it is hard to expect the PAP’s votes to go below 55%, or 50%, or the unlikely below 50% in the distance future. Unless the economy is very badly managed in the next decade, or the PAP leadership is in big trouble - unable to find enough candidates, it is fair to say that the PAP government will be here with us for quite some times.  The oppositions’ best hope is to knock down more ministers but not all the ministers. And hopefully, those second rate ministers remain and those calibre ones left like Aljunied GRC.

Other observations from the Taiwan election are:

Quality of candidates:
Ma is re-elected as compared to DPP candidate because he seems to be a better choice in terms of quality, reliability, delivery, and perhaps even integrity. This attracts the middle ground voters.

Voters have become more mature and rational and if oppositions want to win the election, they have to come out with better quality candidates.

Counting of votes and announcement of results:
Vote counting in Taiwan
For this election, there are 3 types of votes needed to be counted: President, direct votes for constituency MPs and Party votes.  Each will have more than 18 million votes. Compared to our elections last year, I think their productivity in votes counting is certainly higher than us.  If you look at how they counted their votes, we can’t claim we are first world country.

Furthermore the announcement of results is another embarrassment for Singapore.  The Taiwan Poll closed at 4 pm and candidates could go to bed at 10 pm. Many know their results 3 hours after the poll closed.

Furthermore, they certainly didn’t plan and time the announcement of election result in favour of the ruling party. Perhaps, this is the reason why our Election Department in not independent and under PMO. In such an arrangement, the department has forgotten the right of the voters to know the results as soon as possible.

Sitting of parliament: 
Parliament is the most important institution that represents the wishes of the people and voters. The new Taiwan Parliament will sit in February after less than 1 month of election.  In Singapore, our parliament takes more than 5 months to have the first sitting. 

Funding for party
This is a special feature for the Taiwan election. As an encouragement, candidates and parties will be awarded with an incentive for the votes they get in the election.

For example, the party votes, parties that get more than 5% will receive an incentive for each vote.  In order to favour smaller parties, the incentive limit has lowered to 3% so that more parties can receive the funding.

It is really out of imagination that the PAP will be so kind to small political parties. 

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