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Electoral Innovation in Competitive Authoritarian States: A Case for the Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) in Singapore

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 April 2016

WALID JUMBLATT ABDULLAH*
Affiliation:
National University of Singapore and King's College Londonwalid@nus.edu.sg

Abstract

This article investigates the efficacy of a form of electoral innovation unique to the island-state of Singapore, the Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) scheme, and its impact on democratic governance, in light of the changing political landscape. A comparative perspective will be employed and broader conclusions on electoral engineering will be reached, especially for democratizing countries. Contrary to conventional scholarly wisdom, I argue that the NMP scheme can actually boost democratic representation in the country, considering the changing political landscape in the state previously dominated by a hegemonic party. This is via two ways: firstly, NMPs could better represent the voices of the people at the margins of society and, secondly, they could be better positioned to raise issues that are deemed too ‘sensitive’ to be raised by opposition parties. NMPs can enhance democratic governance by promoting deliberation, accountability, and representation.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2016 

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