Parliamentary Elections in Singapore - Composition and Term of Parliament

Composition and Term of Parliament

The Parliament of Singapore is unicameral and consists of three types of Members of Parliament: elected Members of Parliament (MPs), Non-constituency Members of Parliament (NCMPs), and Nominated Members of Parliament (NMPs). Of these, MPs are chosen by universal suffrage or popular election under a "first-past-the-post" system, while NCMPs are chosen from among the candidates of political parties not forming the Government.

The maximum duration of each Parliament is five years from the date of its first sitting. If Parliament has not been dissolved before that period has elapsed, it is automatically dissolved by operation of law. However, in most cases Parliament is dissolved and a general election called at the behest of the Prime Minister, who is entitled to advise the President to do so by a proclamation published in the Government Gazette. The President is not obliged to proclaim that Parliament is dissolved unless he is satisfied that the Prime Minister commands the confidence of a majority of MPs. Once Parliament has been dissolved, a general election must be held within three months.

The number of elected MPs and constituencies or electoral divisions is not permanently fixed by law, but is declared by the Prime Minister prior to each general election pursuant to the Parliamentary Elections Act, which governs the conduct of elections to Parliament, taking into account recommendations of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee. For the purposes of the 2011 general election, there were 87 seats in Parliament organised into 12 Single Member Constituencies (SMCs) and 15 Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs). Each SMC returns one MP while each GRC returns between three and six MPs, at least one of whom must be from the Malay, Indian or other minority communities. Two GRCs were designated as four-member wards, 11 as five-member wards, and two as six-member wards. Nine GRCs were designated as wards for which at least one member of the Malay community had to be fielded as a candidate, and six as wards for which at least one member of the Indian or some other minority community had to be fielded. A group of persons wishing to stand for election in a GRC must all be members of the same political party, or a group of independent candidates.

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