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Singapore's electoral system (dpa German Press Agency)

by September 7, 2015 General

Singapore (dpa) – Singapore’s parliamentary elections are similar to
those of Britain, the former colonial ruler. But differences have
been introduced in the South-East Asian city-state over the years.

The official campaign period for a general election is generally nine
days, beginning at noon on the day after the deadline for the
submission of nomination papers, and ending on the beginning of the
eve of election day.

Parties are free to conduct walkabouts and distribute flyers and
newsletters before the campaign, but rallies are not allowed outside
of the official days.

Elections Department rules for candidates emphasise the need to steer
clear of “negative campaigning practices,” and to conduct their
campaigns in a “responsible and dignified manner that befits the
seriousness of the election process.”

To support this emphasis, party political films – defined as films
that “employ dramatization and/or animation to distort,
sensationalise and mislead viewers on political matters” – are

A YouTube video by the opposition Singapore Democratic Party that
lampooned the ruling People’s Action Party in a parody advertisement
for washing powder was recently disallowed, when the Media
Development Authority categorised it as a party political film.

The Singapore Democratic Party condemned that ruling as “a naked
attempt to stop the SDP’s effective use of the social media to
communicate our message to the people.”

Election surveys – such as opinion and exit polls – are also not
allowed. Violations carry fines of up to 1,500 Singapore dollars
(1,066 US dollars) or imprisonment of up to 12 months, or both.