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					“Political Parties, Party Systems
 and Democratization in Asia –
       Some Observations”

            Lye Liang Fook
  Research Fellow, East Asian Institute
   for Konrad Adenauer Foundation’s
        Asian-German Dialogue
        Thursday, 23 June 2011
            Some New Trends
• Some realignment of the world’s center of
  gravity from West to East
   – Hastened by the 2008 financial contagion
      • Excesses of too liberal market economics
   – India and especially China as key pillars in restoring
     confidence and growth
• “Beijing Consensus” versus “Washington
  Consensus”
   – Not an official policy but many Chinese take pride in
     this
• Implications: Asia will play an increasing role in
  reshaping the world order, including throwing up
  new models of governance
                   Key Thrusts (I)
• Renewed interests in the nature of political parties and
  party systems in Asia
• Liberal democracy as a “single, coherent, evolutionary
  process”
   – Francis Fukuyama’s “End of History” Thesis
• Economic development will raise political consciousness,
  spuring demands for a more democratic form of
  government
   – Modernization theory of democratization (Lipset, Amartya Sen;
     Graeme Gill)
• Culture and Democracy
   – a democratic structure is more secure if its political structure and
     processes is oriented to popular values and beliefs (Almond &
     Verba)
• Will democracy eventually come to all countries in Asia?
              Key Thrusts (II)
• Need for an open and even receptive attitude to
  the political experiments in each country
  – Asia presents a rather mixed picture of political
    parties and party systems at different development
    stages
  – Need to take into account prevailing history, political
    & socio-economic conditions (different
    circumstances)
• Nevertheless, Asia’s ascendance should not lull
  us into the illusion that what is practiced or
  proposed in the region is the gospel truth
            Broad Classification –
        for Discussion Purposes Only
• Widely considered authoritarian systems
  – China, Myanmar, North Korea, sometimes Singapore
• Widely considered relatively democratic political
  systems
  – Democratic consolidation
     • e.g. India, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Indonesia
  – Democracy in transition
     • Malaysia and sometimes Singapore
  – Democratic backsliding
     • Thailand?
• Key point: Wide variations even among those
  classified under the same category
 China’s Political Party System
• Communist Party of China (CPC)
  proactively adapting itself to remain at
  apex of power
  – “The Party Goes On” (Economist, 28 May 2009)
  – Four key areas of adaptation
     •   Widening CPC’s social base
     •   Promoting intra-Party democracy
     •   Engaging in grassroots democracy
     •   Allowing greater room for social organizations to
         operate
                                     Rising CPC Membership
                              80                                                                                                     77.9    3


                                             2.48
                                                                                                                             75.9
                                                                                                                     74.2




                                                                                                                                      2.72
                              75                                                                                                             2.5
Total Membership (Millions)




                                                                                             2.05
                                                                                                             72.4

                                                      2.1

                                                             2.06




                                                                                     1.94




                                                                                                                      2.48
                                                                                                     70.8




                                                                      1.86

                                                                             1.83




                                                                                                                              2.29
                                                                                             69.6




                                                                                                              2.25
                              70                                                     68.2                                                    2
                                                                             66.9




                                                                                                                                                   % Change
                                                                     65.7
                                                             64.5




                                                                                                      1.72
                              65                     63.2                                                                                    1.5
                                             61.9
                                     60.4
                              60                                                                                                             1


                              55                                                                                                             0.5


                              50                                                                                                             0
                                      1997

                                              1998

                                                      1999

                                                              2000

                                                                      2001

                                                                              2002

                                                                                      2003

                                                                                              2004

                                                                                                      2005

                                                                                                              2006

                                                                                                                      2007

                                                                                                                              2008

                                                                                                                                      2009
                                                                                     Year

                                   Source: CCP Website and various Xinhua News sources
Composition of CCP Members (2009)



                       Other P ro fessio ns         Wo rkers
                              7.6%                   8.9%
      Retired P erso nnel
            18.6%
                                                                     P easants
                                                                       30.8%

            Students
              2.9%
              M anagers and                           P arty and Go vernment
             P ro fessio nals in                              o fficials
           Enterprises and No n-                                8.5%
           P ro fit Organizatio ns
                     22.7%




   Source: CCP website and various Chinese news sources
Size of Newly-Recruited CPC Members (2003-2009)

                           3.5                                                                               9




                                                 8.2
                                                                                                     2.971
                            3                                                      2.782    2.807            8
 Newly-Recruited Members




                                                                          2.635
                                                 2.418       2.475                                           7
                           2.5       2.235




                                                                                                      5.8
                                                                                                             6




                                                                           6.5




                                                                                                                 % Change
        (Millions)




                            2                                                                                5




                                                                                    5.6
                           1.5                                                                               4
                                                                                                             3
                            1
                                                                                                             2
                                                               2.4




                                                                                             0.9
                           0.5                                                                               1
                            0                                                                                0
                                   2003        2004        2005         2006      2007     2008     2009
                                                                        Year

                           Source: CCP website and various Chinese news sources
           New-Recruited Members:
Age, Gender, Education & Minority Representation
                    (2009)

                                 2.229
                                         2.268

                                                 2.411
                    2.5


                     2
 Size in Millions




                                                                             1.113
                                                                     1.023
                                                             0.994
                    1.5




                                                                                     0.866
                                                                                             0.862

                                                                                                     0.919
                                                                                                                                      2007
                                                                                                                                      2008
                     1
                                                                                                                                      2009




                                                                                                                      0.198
                                                                                                              0.187



                                                                                                                              0.224
                    0.5


                     0
                          35 years and                   Females                College                  Minorities
                             below                                           Education and
                                                                                Above

                      Source: CCP website and various Chinese news sources
        Intra-Party Democracy
• Organize semi-competitive polls to elect top
  leaders of Politburo Standing Committee (Oct
  ’07)
  – Greater institutionalization of leadership transition
• Emphasize greater accountability and
  transparency of Party and government officials
• Provide timely information of public concern
  – Sichuan earthquake (May ’08) and Tibet Riots (Jun
    ’09)
• Engage eight other democratic parties in policy-
  making
  – Under the CPC leadership
             The Eight Democratic Parties
Name                        Date of Foundation   Main Constituents                     Membership   Chairperson of
                                                                                                        Central
                                                                                                        Committee
China Revolutionary         January 1948         Former Kuomintang members and         81,000       He Luli
      Committee of the                                people having historical
      Kuomintang                                      connections with the
                                                      Kuomintang
China Democratic League     October 1941         Senior and leading intellectuals in   > 181,000    Jiang Shusheng
                                                       culture, education, and
                                                       science and technology
China Democratic National   December 1945        Industrialists and businessmen        > 108,000    Cheng Siwei
      Construction
      Association


China Association for       December 1945        Senior and leading intellectuals in   > 103,000    Xu Jialu
      Promoting                                        culture, education and
      Democracy                                        publishing
Chinese Peasants and        August 1930          Senior and leading intellectuals in   > 99,000     Jiang Zhenghua
      Workers Democratic                               medical field
      Party
China Zhi Gong Dang         October 1925         Middle and upper social strata of     > 28,000     Luo Haocai
                                                       returned overseas Chinese
                                                       and their relatives




Jiu San Society             May 1946             Senior and leading intellectuals in   > 105,000    Han Qide
                                                       science and technology
Taiwan Democratic Self-     November 1947        People born or with family roots in   > 2,100      Lin Wenyi
     government League                                 Taiwan
        Grassroots Democracy
• Local elections
  – 1987 Village Committee Organic Law
  – Extend beyond villages to township and county levels
  – Emphasis on perfecting existing direct elections
    instead of expanding it
• Public scrutiny of party and government officials
  – Zhou Jiugeng (former Director of the real estate
    administration of Jiangning district in Jiangsu
    province) fired in Dec ’08
  – Deng Yujiao (waitress working at a hotel in Badong
    city in Hubei province) was spared punishment for
    murder in Jun ’09
                                Size of NGOs in China (1998-2009)




                                                                                                                        1843
                                      300,000                                                                                  2000




                                                                                                                 1597
                                                                                                                               1800
No. of Social Organizations & Civil




                                      250,000




                                                                                                        1340
                                                                                                                               1600
    Non-Enterprise Institutions




                                                                                                 1144
                                                                                                                               1400




                                                                                                                                      No. of Foundations
                                      200,000




                                                                                          975
                                                                                                                               1200




                                                                            954


                                                                                    892
                                      150,000                                                                                  1000
                                                                                                                               800
                                      100,000
                                                                                                                               600
                                                                                                                               400
                                       50,000
                                                                                                                               200
                                           0                                                                                   0
                                                1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
                                                                             Year

                                            Social Organizations   Civil Non-Enterprise Institutions           Foundations
                  Key Points
• “China will not have a system of multiple parties
  holding office in rotation; will not go for a division
  of powers” (Wu Bangguo, Mar ’11)
• “Political reform, which the country has done on
  its own terms, has made it possible for China’s
  economic development to maintain a fast pace
  since the reform and opening-up” (China Daily, 6
  Nov ’10)
• “Different countries have different election rules
  and a socialist China won't follow Western
  election campaigns” (China Daily, 20 Mar ’10)
• CCP making a concerted effort to maintain its
  monopoly on power
 Singapore’s Political Party System
Some Negative Views
• “Current Singaporean laws and policies on
  freedom of expression, assembly, and
  association sharply limit peaceful criticism of the
  government and have been used repeatedly to
  stymie the development of opposition political
  parties and dissenting voices” (Human Rights
  Watch World Report 2011 on Singapore)
• “Singapore: Human Rights, Singaporean Style”
  (Far Eastern Economic Review, Dec ’09)
• “Starting a Party, and Hoping to Crash
  Singapore's Parliament Again” (New York Times
  (May ’08)
               Some Positive Views
•   “Singapore enjoys good social order and is well-managed. We must adapt their
    experience and do even better than them” (Deng Xiaoping, 1992)
         - Led to “Singapore fever”

•   “Multi-party not a must for democracy” (Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew,
    May ’06)

•   At a public dialogue to mark CNN’s 30th anniversary, when Prime Minister Lee
    Hsien Loong was asked what he hopes his legacy will be (Oct ’10)

    “Let me get my job done first. The legacy can look after itself...

    “It's not easy to keep a system going. The Chinese say, to create an enterprise
    is hard, to maintain it is even harder. And here we are seeking not just to
    maintain it but to build on what we have achieved, and make... the previous
    generations' achievements the foundation on which we will scale new heights”.

•   What is important is whether the government of the day can deliver a better life
    for a majority of the population; democracy while important should not to be
    pursued as an end goal to the detriment of other considerations
 Singapore’s Political Party System
         - Brief Overview
• People’s Action Party (PAP) has held power
  since 1959
  – Unicameral legislature
  – First-past-the-post-system
  – Simple majority to form the next government
• Singapore not a one-party system but one-
  party dominant system
  – Around 28 political parties
     • More active ones about 10
      More Active Political Parties


People’s               Workers’
Action Party           Party




Singapore People’s    National Solidarity   Singapore Democratic    Reform Party
Party                 Party                 Party




Singapore              Singapore Justice    Singapore Malay National Socialist Front
Democratic Alliance    Party                Organisation
Elected Presidency - Political Innovation
• Established in 1991; Six year term

• Powers: has veto powers over the spending of national reserves and
  monetary policies as well as over the appointments of key positions
  in the Civil Service, government companies and Statutory Boards

• Eligilibility: the person who is to be elected as President should be a
  Singapore citizen, at least 45 years old with at least three years
  experience as Minister, Chief Justice, Speaker of Parliament, Judge
  or Judicial Commissioner of the Supreme Court, Auditor-General,
  Accountant-General, Chairman of the Public Service Commission or
  Permanent Secretary, Chairman or Chief Executive Officer of a
  company with paid-up capital of at least S$100 million

• The Presidential Elections Committee (PEC) determines the
  suitability of candidates. A certificate would be issued to prospective
  candidates only when the committee is satisfied that the person is of
  good integrity, character and reputation and has the ability and
  experience in financial management necessary for the job
       Results of Past Presidential Elections

       Result                                                     % of
Year   s                Name of Candidates         Votes Polled   Votes
                                                                  Polled


2005 (2,113,540)        S R Nathan                 Uncontested


1999 (1,967,984)        S R Nathan                 Uncontested


1993 (1,756,517)        Chua Kim Yeow              670,358        41.31


                        Ong Teng Cheong            952,513        58.69



  Source: Singapore Elections Department Website
Parliamentary Elections – Political Innovations
  •   Held every five years
  •   Three types of MPs (numbers below based on last elections in May 2011):
       • Elected MPs
           • Single Member Constituency (12)
           • Group Representation Constituency
                • Established in 1988 (15)
           • Total of 27 electoral districts with 87 MPs (up from 84 before)
       • Non-Constituency MPs (NCMPs)
           • Established in 1984; given to best performing opposition candidates
           • Parliamentary Elections Act allows 9 NCMP, less the number of
              opposition MPs elected
           • Currently only 3 NCMPs (Two from Workers’ Party and one from
              Singapore People’s Party)
       • Nominated MPs (NMPs)
           • Established in 1990; candidates recommended by Parliament and
              approved by President
           • Constitution allows for nine NMPs
           • NMP now a permanent institution, no need for a new parliament to
              seek approval
Political Reforms Before May ’11 Parliamentary
                   Elections
                (Approved in Apr ’10)

• GRCs average size reduced from current 5.4
  to either 5 or 4
• SMCs raised from the current 9 to 12
• NCMPs (or opposition candidates) in
  Parliament raised from the current 6 to 9
• NMP Scheme made permanent (9
  members)
• Purpose: cater to Singaporean’s desire for
  more diverse voices in Parliament
    Number of Seats and Share of Popular
    Votes Won by the PAP in Past Elections
• 1955: Won 3 out of 25 seats. 1st year after PAP was formed
• 1959: Won 43 out of 51 seats; obtained 53.4% of popular votes. PAP
  forms the government
• 1963: Won 37 out of 51 seats; obtained 46.4% of popular votes
• 1968: Swept all 58 seats; obtained 84% of popular votes
• 1972: Swept all 65 seats; obtained 69% of popular votes
• 1976: Swept all 69 seats; obtained 72% of popular votes
• 1980: Swept all 75 seats; obtained 77% of popular seats
• 1984: Won 77 out of 79 seats; obtained 65% of popular votes
• 1988: Won 80 out of 81 seats; obtained 63% of popular votes
• 1991: Won 77 out of 81 seats; obtained 61% of popular votes
• 1997: Won 81 out of 83 seats; obtained 65% of popular votes
• 2001: Won 82 out of 84 seats; obtained 75% of popular votes
• 2006: Won 82 out of 84 seats; obtained 66.6% of popular votes
• 2011: Won 81 out of 87 seats; obtained 60.1% of popular votes
Some Observations on 2011 Parliamentary Elections
 • Most Singaporeans still want the dominant PAP to
   govern
    – Proven track record
    – However, would like see review or adjustments of policies e.g.
      ministerial pay, cost of living, affordable housing
 • More Singaporeans welcome a greater role for
   opposition parties
    – Worker’s Party increase share of seats in Parliament from 1 to 6
    – Other opposition parties also saw improved showing (increase in
      share of valid votes)
 • 2011 elections described in some quarters as a
   watershed in Singapore’s political development
    – More contested seats; more apparent credible candidates in
      opposition; more opposition seats in Parliament
              Final Remarks (I)
• Political parties in China and Singapore (and generally
  elsewhere) constantly have to grapple with the challenge
  of staying relevant to the times
   – Need to be responsive or to be seen as responsive to
     the needs of the population
       • The CCP in China and the PAP in Singapore are
         proactively adapting themselves to remain in power
       • In this adaptation process, they have taken steps or
         adopted measures that they regard as being more
         democratic
           – E.g. create a more inclusive party, allow for
             more voices in the legislature
                  Final Remarks (II)
•   Emphasis on having proper or good governance regardless of political
    stripes
      – Whether it is a democratic or authoritarian system appears less
         important
           • More important to be able to deliver the goods
      – Majority of population also appear supportive of the ruling party
         although they would like greater transparency and accountability
•   Yet, there are also significant differences between the two countries
      – E.g. nature of elections held; role of the opposition parties
      – Although both share some degree of authoritarianism, and have
         adopted democratic practices, they are charting their own political
         paths suited to local conditions
•   The political parties and party systems in China and Singapore appear
    likely to endure for some time
•   A coherent and predictable outcome for party systems and political
    parties in these two countries (and generally elsewhere) is not so
    apparent
Thank You

				
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