Electoral boundaries report out, with more seats and constituencies up for contest in next GE
SINGAPORE — There will be more seats and constituencies up for contest at the next General Election (GE), based on the latest report from the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) issued on Friday (March 13).
SINGAPORE — There will be more seats and constituencies up for contest at the next General Election (GE), based on the latest report from the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC).
The release of the report on Friday (March 13) — about seven months after the committee was formed — marks the penultimate step before Parliament can be dissolved for the GE, which must be called before April next year.
The Government has accepted the recommendations of the committee, made up of five top civil servants, which had been tasked with reducing the average size of Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs).
In the committee’s redrawing of electoral boundaries, there are no more six-member GRCs, with several existing GRCs having been shrunk in both geographical size and number of seats.
A few other GRCs have been expanded though.
Notably, a new four-member Sengkang GRC will be formed, as well as four new Single Member Constituencies (SMC), including a new Kebun Baru SMC that was carved out of Nee Soon GRC.
Fengshan SMC will no longer exist and will be absorbed into the upsized five-member East Coast GRC, which now has four Members of Parliament (MPs).
There are no changes to the seat counts for the opposition-held Aljunied GRC and Hougang SMC, as well as one-time opposition stronghold Potong Pasir SMC which has been helmed by the ruling People’s Action Party since the 2011 GE.
However, there are some boundary changes to Potong Pasir SMC, with parts of the existing ward absorbed into Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC while taking in some polling districts from Marine Parade GRC.
In all, 93 parliamentary seats will be up for grabs, an increase from the 89 now.
(Click on map to enlarge and zoom) Singapore Parliamentary Electoral Map 2020. Image: EBRC
The electoral map for the next GE will be split into 31 electoral divisions, comprising 14 SMCs and 17 GRCs. This is more than the 13 SMCs and 16 GRCs during the last GE in 2015.
The average number of MPs for each GRC will thus fall from 4.75 now to 4.65 after the next GE.
Here is a look at some of the main changes:
Apart from the creation of a new Sengkang GRC, which will have four MPs, several existing GRCs will see changes in the number of MPs representing the voting district:.
Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC: Will have four MPs, down from five now
Ang Mo Kio GRC: Will have five, down from six now
Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC: Will have five, down from six now
East Coast GRC: Will have five, up from four now
West Coast GRC: Will have five, up from four now
In terms of the number of electors, Ang Mo Kio GRC is now the largest constituency with an estimated 180,186 voters, based on the 2019 Register of Electors.
In its report, the EBRC said that it decided to work on a range of 20,000 to 38,000 electors for every MP. This was the same approach taken by past committees.
“The committee was also mindful that GRCs with fewer MPs should not have more electors than GRCs with more MPs,” it added.
The EBRC was tasked to redraw electoral boundaries such that there will be more than the present 13 SMCs for the next GE.
In the new electoral map, three existing SMCs are no more:
Sengkang West SMC, which will be part of the new Sengkang GRC
Punggol East SMC, which will be absorbed into the new Sengkang GRC
Fengshan SMC, which will be absorbed into East Coast GRC
Four new SMCs will be created:
Kebun Baru SMC, carved out of Nee Soon GRC
Marymount SMC, which includes polling districts from the existing Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC
Punggol West SMC, which includes polling districts from the existing Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC
Yio Chu Kang SMC, carved out of the downsized Ang Mo Kio GRC
WHAT’S NEXT, POSSIBLE TIMELINE TO GE
The EBRC was formed in August last year, leading commentators to predict then that the next GE will be called in the first half of 2020, but that was before the Covid-19 pandemic happened and scuttled predictions.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong received the EBRC’s report on March 11. On the same day, his named successor, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, said publicly that he was consulting with Mr Lee on the timing of the election while the coronavirus outbreak is ongoing.
In past years, a GE took place just weeks or months after the release of the EBRC’s report. In the past four GEs, it took between one and three months from the release of the report to polling day.
In this in-between period, Parliament must first be dissolved and a writ of election must be issued. The writ specifies the date and venue of Nomination Day, when prospective candidates are required to submit their nomination papers and certificates.
The election must be held within three months from the date Parliament is dissolved.
EBRC formed: May 2015
Report released: July 2015
Polling day: Sept 11, 2015
EBRC formed: October 2010
Report released: February 2011
Polling day: May 7, 2011
EBRC formed: November 2005
Report released: March 2006
Polling day: May 6, 2006
EBRC formed: After July 2001
Report released: Oct 17, 2001
Polling day: Nov 3, 2001