Singapore’s parliament is currently elected via a First Past the Post, Winner-take-all system combined with multiple-member constituencies for the majority of seats and single member constituencies for a minority of seats. This policy was put in place to make sure that minorities were represented and to prevent mono-ethenic political parties from gaining significant political influence but it has also had the effect of distorting the results of the election from the way the electorate has voted. It has allowed the PAP to gain almost 90% of seats with 70% of the vote and cut-out many small parties from gaining any representation in parliament

NCMP are a woefully inadequate solution as it doesn’t even come close to combating this problem as it only allows the opposition to gain 10% of the parliament even when the receive more than 30% of the vote and lack many of powers normal parliamentarians posses. One of the major power that NCMP’s lack is the ability to vote on changes to the constitution as demonstrated during the 12th parliament. A constitutional amendment was passed in 2014  on a party-line vote despite the majority party receiving less than 2/3rds votes because the distortive effects gave them more 2/3 of the seats.

To show how distortive this effect is, I have modelled 2 alternate version of the Singapore parliament below. The first one allocates GRC seats in proportion to their vote-share in the GRC using the d’hondt method, this keeps local representation and is easy to implement under our current electoral framework while also being more proportionate.

GRC allocated proportionally-parliament

Screen Shot 2017-04-05 at 12.49.41 PM.png

*PAP should have an extra seat that isn’t included because the current speaker is a PAP MP

This prevents a slim 51-49% majority in a GRC gaining all the seats present in that GRC and greatly increases the diversity of political parties present in parliament from the present 2 to 7. The PAP still has a super-majority in accordance to their election results and are only slightly over-represented while the opposition has a far larger and more diverse representation. One of the main flaws of this system, however, is that good results SMC do not result in any representation as they can not be represented proportionally meaning that parties that focused on SMC’s aren’t represented as well as they should be.

My second model fixes this issue by treating Singapore as one huge GRC and allocating seats proportionally using the entire vote, this removes local representatives but makes the representation more representative of the populace as a whole and completely removes the effect of gerrymandering. Similar systems are used in countries such as Israel and the Netherlands.

Pure ProportionalRepresentationn ParliamentScreen Shot 2017-04-05 at 4.19.43 PM.png

*PAP should have an extra seat that isn’t included because the current speaker is a PAP MP

This result puts the PAP representation to almost exactly the same as their vote-share and allows every vote to be counted and meaningful. It also makes it harder for the PAP to pass controversial constitutional amendments without compromising as a few defectors can prevent them from passing. The two Main-flaws of this system is that it completely removes any idea of having a personal MP whose jobs it is to represent you and can create unstable governmental collations as seen in the Netherlands and Israel. It’s two main strengths on the other hand are is that it makes every vote meaningful as there is no such thing as a safe area, where someone’s vote has no influence while also making the results in almost alignment to what the general populace wants.

Tell me in the comments if you think we should change the voting system and if so in what way?

*Data for all these calculations are here:

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