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In Democracy, we have the median voter theorem. Hence, we expect elections to be won 50% of the time (in case winners take all).

The issue is not whose party is better. The issue is that when someone wants to rise or lower tax, for example, the one that gets the most votes are the one that can capture the median voters.

So how come PAP wins 90% of the votes in all elections?

This says it may be due to intimidation. But that leads to another problem. Why would a party that can win 90% votes bother to intimidate other parties?

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  • PAP wins 90% of the votes in all elections--this is false, the PAP won 61.23% in the 2020 General Election, 69.86% in 2015, and 60.14% in 2011.
    – user44908
    Commented Feb 10, 2023 at 2:01

2 Answers 2

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This pattern has developed in a number of countries, often following some significant political disruption. For example in Japan and South Africa, a single party wins nearly all elections.

In both countries there was a significant disruption (World war 2, the Apartheid struggle) Similarly in Singapore there was the Malayan Emergency and independence from Malaysia. Following this disruption, there was a national consensus. In Japan, the Liberal and Democratic parties had such similar policies that they merged (with approval from the USA). The ANC was the liberation party and gained very broad support because of that.

Then the system becomes entrenched. All competent politicians recognise that if they are to have a chance of political power they have to work within the dominant party. This then acts as a positive feedback loop. Effective politicians join the dominant party, which increases that party's dominance. Other parties are starved of both funding and talent and may become more extreme as centrists find they have a better chance of success with the dominant party. But more extreme parties are less likely to be able to challenge the dominant party, and more likely to split or engage in internecine debates.

Other parties are effectively squashed by the dominant one, even if one-party-rule is not an actual goal of the dominant party and even if there is no actual intimidation of voters.

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  • This may be a plausible theory but it offers no support whatsoever to the fact that Malay war/independence is related to single party dominance; nor does it offer anything on the topic of why the major party wouldn't split in two (as happend in USA)
    – user4012
    Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 23:59
  • in Singapore there was the Malay war---what on earth was the "Malay war"?
    – user44908
    Commented Feb 8, 2023 at 2:14
  • 1
    I meant Malayan Emergency, also known as the Anti–British National Liberation War (1948–1960),
    – James K
    Commented Feb 8, 2023 at 5:37
  • Even it is never a good policy to have a single dominant party in a democracy, this stifiles new ideas and different views, although I know Singapore is best country as of now.
    – Up-In-Air
    Commented Feb 10, 2023 at 19:07
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Because they are extremely good

I'm not sure if you realize just how effective the PAP is. Just check all the statistics you might be interested in - lifespan, healthcare, unemployment, literacy, GDP per capita, etc. Singapore is likely to score among the world's best in all of them.

Then add the fact that Singapore started as a third world country (i.e. they had a very high mountain to climb), and also add the fact that they have outperformed their peer group (other South East Asian countries) by a significant margin, and you should see why the PAP wins every election.

Even the opposition acknowledges this. If you look at campaign material from the Singaporean opposition (example), they don't argue that they can run the country better than the PAP, but rather that the country should vote for them to provide balance to the PAP.

PS: The PAP gets about 60-70% of the public vote, not 90%. They take most of the seats anyway because of the FPTP (first past the post) system.

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  • I don't say they're bad. But usually the other parties will have similar policies. Also how does first past the post system work and how they get 90%
    – user4951
    Commented Mar 9, 2023 at 16:07

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