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Will the Government lose voters trust if it tweaks the Elected Presidency scheme?




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By: Ravi Philemon
In his column for The Straits Times its editor-at-large, Han Fook Kwang, had this to say about the pending changes to our electoral system:
“Whenever the Singapore electorate has been asked to decide, it has shown itself to be responsible and sophisticated and to know instinctively where its interests lie. It is not easily fooled by empty promises or beguiling leaders.”
I agree with the ST editor on this point. There has been a lot of speculation that the coming changes to the electoral system will involve tweaking the Elected Presidency scheme (EP), to make its qualification criteria to participate in the race more stringent for the likes of Dr Tan Cheng Bock and Mr Tan Jee Say.
The Government may of course get an Elected President who it is more comfortable in working with if it does so, but at the risk of sending a message to the electorate that it does not trust them.
Thinking long-term, that could be like ‘winning the battle, but losing the war’ for the ruling People’s Action Party.
The question it has to seriously ponder if the Government wants to tweak the EP system (so that the winner is who they want) is, will the voters remember the ruling party’s lack of trust in them and send it an unexpected message at the next General Election?

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