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[short fuse] Will an opposition party win a new GRC in Singapore’s 2020 general election?


Singapore’s political system has been called many things, from “representative democracy” (which it technically is), to “flawed democracy” (by the Economist Intelligence Unit), or “guided democracy”, or even a “one-party state”. Adam Garfinkle writes,

Singapore is a “managed” democracy, and let’s be frank about what that means: The opposition is not going to win political power short of pigs flying and the moon audibly whistling “Majulah Singapura.” The system is subtly but effectively rigged—I mean protected—against that.

One of the ways in which the system is “subtly rigged” is a uniquely Singaporean construct—the “group representation constituency (GRC)”. Introduced in 1988 with the official justification of “enshrining minority representation in Parliament”, it was also criticised as “a ploy to handicap the diminutive Opposition further” as the opposition already found it difficult to attract talented candidates after decades of a single party dominating local politics. Regardless of reason, the opposition never did manage to win a GRC for the first 20+ years since inception; this was only changed when the Worker’s Party (WP) won Aljunied GRC in the 2011 general election. Till date, that (as well as the 2015 general election where WP successfully defended their seats in Aljunied GRC) has been the only time an opposition party has won in a GRC.

Question: in the upcoming general elections on 10 July 2020, will an opposition party (defined as any political party except the incumbent People’s Action Party) win one or more GRCs, not including Aljunied GRC?


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