After the General Election (GE) that was held last Friday (10 July), things were starting to settle and various people began to share their opinion on the GE and its results.
Yesterday (13 July), a public policy student at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Carissa Cheow, took to her Facebook to compare and elaborate on the GE2020 to past years’ results.
Difference between GE2020 and GE2011
By comparing the contexts of GE2020 and GE2011, Ms Cheow, who co-founded safeNUS – student organisation in National University of Singapore that focuses on sexual violence – said that GE2020 is “exceptional” so much so that GE2011 was not.
Even though the number of seats that garnered more than 40 per cent of votes have decreased this year, she pointed out that the results in GE2011 showed “generalised disaffection towards the ruling party”.
As for GE2020, the context shifted to showing “affection” towards the alternative parties.
“The number of >40% seats may have dipped (from 44.83% to 34.41%), but the number of >45% seats skyrocketed (from 14.94% to 24.73%). If 2011 was an election that saw much generalized disaffection towards the ruling party, 2020 saw more affection towards alternative parties.”
Judging on the percentage of votes in all the marginal constituencies like West Coast GRC, East Coast GRC, Bukit Panjang, Bukit Batok, and Marymount, Ms Cheow hinted that there was a possibility of Singaporeans waking up to find 23 Members of Parliament (MPs) from alternative parties being elected.
Other than that, she noted how there has been a “strong opposition performance” in the current and marginal seats, referring to how Sengkang is now a Workers’ Party (WP) seat in Parliament.
Ms Cheow expressed that it’s a “heartening development” because 2020 is the “closest” that Singapore has “come to a viable opposition presence”. This is the year where opposition parties are at their “all-time strongest”.
“In the greater scheme of things, therefore, 2020 was the closest that we have come to a viable opposition presence. If there is any year the opposition parties (or at the very least the stronger ones amongst them) have been at their all-time strongest – and not merely because the PAP is at its all-time lowest – it is now.”
She believes that years and decades of effort in increasing “viable political alternatives” – which are not limited to political parties – will eventually create positive results.
“The good news is that if history is anything to go by, decades of groundwork in building up a robust foundation for viable political alternatives – not just in the form of parties – will at some point bear fruit. Even if in a different shape from before.”
In order to keep the ball rolling, Ms Cheow said that people could find ways to practise solidarity and create opportunities to “practise alternatives”.
“So what do we do? We carry on. We carry on lifting each other up and making space for more voices, especially those on the margins. We carry on, in our own ways, and find ways to put into practice alternatives. We organize. We bring people together. We practice solidarity. Because these efforts do in fact matter, and they will bear fruit.
Even if they repeatedly come so close, yet so far, to doing so.”