23 Feb '12, 9pm

No automatic by-election in our model of parliamentary democracy

Assistant Professor Eugene Tan's commentary "The value of a by-election" (Feb 20) argued that the Prime Minister does not have an unfettered discretion in deciding when to call a by-election and that the "default" position should be that a by-election should be automatic. Those two claims ignore the law and the reason behind the law. There is a reason the Singapore Constitution does not prescribe any time limit to call a by-election. Our parliamentary democracy is based on the principle that elections are fundamentally about voters choosing between different political parties to lead the country, rather than between individual candidates standing in a constituency. In general elections, the issue is which party should form the government. Hence, under our system, if any Member of Parliament (MP) resigns or is expelled from his party, he loses his seat because voters had el...

Full article: http://www.todayonline.com/Voices/EDC120224-0000035/No-au...

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