Same voters, different response, different result. Why?
LKY is a key factor for GE2015, even for GE2011. However, LKY has little effect or perhaps, negative effect in the coming Presidential Election if there is one.
Why do Singapore voters react so differently in these two elections?
We may call it certainty vs. uncertainty.
Voting under uncertainty
Vote for PAP
Voting under certainty
Vote against PAP proxy
In the GE market, the PAP creates an uncertain political background, for example, the PAP may not return to power. This uncertainty, or fear, or LKY effect, will always give the PAP the benefit of doubt.
In the PE market, the PAP, however, creates a certain background. With supermajority in the Parliament, the PAP can even remove an Elected President. The fear or the LKY effect has lost its role. When the PAP designed the EP system, they did not play particular attention to the certainty issue.
This is like generals without practical experience. Only when they faced the real challenge: Ong Teng Cheong vs. C Chua Kim Yeow in the first EP election, they realised some things were wrong in the system. As usual practice, they created walk-overs to avoid election, until PE2011.
Now, PE2016, the PAP has to face a real challenge again. However, they cannot remove the built-in certainty in the EP system. Singapore voters know the PAP has more than 90% of seats in the Parliament. The limitation and limited powers of the Elected President even further ensures this certainty.
Who are these voters?
The certainty makes 25% to 35% of Singapore voters free riders. They had tried it in 1990 and 2011.
In a simple calculation:
% of PAP votes in GE2011 - % of PAP proxy votes in PE2011 = 60%- 35% = 25%
% of PAP votes in GE2015 - % of PAP proxy votes in PE2011 = 70%- 35% = 35%
Even we look back in PE1990, the PAP proxy obtained only 58% of the votes. However, this percentage cannot be a good indicator anymore.
This is a very uncomfortable position for the PAP. They hope to create some uncertainties in the EP system. They even set up a Constitutional Commission to look into this matter.
No matter the proposals, the changes, if there is a free EP election, the PAP will have to face the challenge. Perhaps, this time they will be the victims of their very own success. They always invent and design the political game in Singapore.
They also create a game suitable for 'kiasu' Singaporeans to try a change - a ‘kiasu’ design making ‘kiasu’ Singaporeans to vote against the PAP.