In developed countries, there are looney parties, and there are serious political parties.
The former are known for putting forward colourful candidates such as ex-porn stars and actors to spice up elections.
The latter would never allow un-electables to run.
People know this and vote accordingly.
Here in Singapore, PAP puts up well-qualified professionals and civil servants, while the “opposition” recycles jokers and no-hopers like Seow Khee Leng & friends, Ng Teck Siong, Gandhi Ambalan, John Tan, etc.
Yet they claim that something is wrong when they lose elections. They have tons of excuses– fear factor, election deposits, msm bias, gerrymandering, short campaign period, etc.
But they don’t see what they’re doing wrong.
What’s the point of having an election when half the candidates are loonies, no-hopers and tired warhorses?
What really do these parties hope to gain from fielding these no-hopers? What do they hope to get from spending hundreds of thousands of dollars and putting in all the blood, sweat and tears?
More than just a waste of time and money, such an election will give PAP ministers and MP’s bragging rights and will confer an air of legitimacy upon them they do not deserve. Worse, it actually lets PAP claim that there is democracy in Singapore!
No more will we be able to say that they are not the people’s choice because they were walkovers.
If we can’t have well-qualified electables from other parties, I’d rather have walkovers than uneven contests. Because if all 87 seats are contested, then PAP can stand proud to say they are the legitimate elected govt of singapore. And that is a national shame.
The point of this is that “opposition” should not be for the sake of opposition, and running should not be for the sake of running.
A party must have a strong internal selection process to ensure that only worthy candidates are put up for elections. Because its reputation is important, and the trust of the voters is even more important. People will trust a party only if they can put up good candidates.
The current practice of putting up any tom, dick or harry willing to foot the election deposit is utterly and totally wrong.
In other countries, they hold national conventions to decide on their candidates before they put them up for election, and aspiring candidates have to garner party support before they can declare their candidacy.
In other words, the candidates are the best a party has to offer the electorate, and people will judge a party by the quality of its candidates.
While “opp” parties here are way too small to hold national conventions, CEC’s have to exercise quality control for the parties.
Putting up clowns, jokers, tired old warhorses and no-hopers is not the way to go. It basically tells the electorate that the best people your party can find are crap. So what does it say about your party?
It’s not a matter of finding enough people to run for 87 seats. I’d rather run for 10 seats and win 5 than to run for 87 seats and win 2.
Not only is it wasteful to run for elections with no-hopers, it is also counterproductive in the long run. Young, well-qualified candidates will shun your party. And why shouldn’t they? They don’t want to be tarred with the same brush!
So it hurts recruitment and renewal, and it creates a negative image of the “opp” as a bunch of no-hopers.
Parties don’t see this and they blame everything else– climate of fear, political apathy, donations act, etc– for their predicament.
There is one party which has understood this, and they go about their business quietly, trying to improve the quality of their slate of candidates from election to election, and picking only serious electoral fights.
They have no ambitions to form the govt now, but I hope their quiet achievements will enable them to rival the PAP one day.