Disparity between election results and seats won

Daniel Yuan/

It was interesting to see the numbers for the elected candidates placed right beside the share of valid votes in http://www.ge.sg/tallyseats/ now that the results are out.

Share of valid votes from the various parties:

  • PAP: 60.1%
  • WP: 12.8%
  • NSP: 12.0%
  • SDP: 4.8%
  • RP: 4.3%
  • SPP: 3.1%
  • SDA: 2.8%

I’m going to assume that in a ‘normal’ outcome, the number of parliamentary seats won by the respective parties should be equal in proportion to valid votes. Given the 87 seats available in parliament, we should expect to see the following distribution based on my assumption of a ‘normal’ outcome (% of votes multiplied by total number of seats):

  • PAP: 52 seats
  • WP: 11 seats
  • NSP: 11 seats
  • SDP: 4 seats
  • RP: 4 seats
  • SPP: 3 seats
  • SDA: 2 seats

However, the actual number of seats won are as follows:

  • PAP: 81 (93%)
  • WP: 6 (7%)
  • NSP: 0
  • RP: 0
  • SDA: 0
  • SDP: 0
  • SPP: 0

The difference:

  • PAP: +29
  • WP: -5
  • NSP: -11
  • SDP: -4
  • RP: -4
  • SPP: -3
  • SDA: -2


Winning 93% of the seats with 60% of the votes is quite an accomplishment. The controversial walkover of course had a part to play in this.

Some may even argue that this 60% is an overestimation considering how it probably comprises of those who have been threatened (illegitimate fears around implications of voting secrecy) or bribed (housing upgrades/ HDB bidding) into contributing their vote to this statistic.

If this is any indicator of PAP’s gerrymandering tactics, then I would say that it has once again done an incredibly successful job at redrawing the electoral boundaries to its advantage.

If this tells us anything about the opposition’s character, then it suggests that they are either very foolish to be stacking themselves up against such odds, or convicted of their calling enough to be taking such risks.

If this is a reflection of public sentiment vis-a-vis election outcome, then it represents the disparity between which party the people want in power, and which is actually in power.



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