Lye Liang Fook - Konrad-Adenauer

January 6, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Social Science, Political Science
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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

66.9

2.72 2.29

68.2

2.48

2.25

2.05

1.94

1.83

70.8

63.2 61.9

2.5 2 1.5

60.4

Year Source: CCP Website and various Xinhua News sources

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

0

2002

50

2001

0.5

2000

55

1999

1

1998

60

% Change

65.7

69.6

72.4

1.72

64.5

1.86

2.06

74.2

70 65

3

75.9

2.1

75

1997

Total Membership (Millions)

2.48

77.9

Composition of CCP Members (2009)

Other P ro fessio ns 7.6% Retired P erso nnel 18.6%

Wo rkers 8.9% P easants 30.8%

Students 2.9% M anagers and P ro fessio nals in Enterprises and No nP ro fit Organizatio ns 22.7%

P arty and Go vernment o fficials 8.5%

Source: CCP website and various Chinese news sources

Size of Newly-Recruited CPC Members (2003-2009) 8.2

9

2.235

2.635

2.971

8 7

2

6

5.6

5

1.5

4 3

1 0.9

0.5

2 1

0

0 2003

2004

2005

2006 Year

Source: CCP website and various Chinese news sources

2007

2008

2009

% Change

2.475

6.5

2.5

2.418

2.782

2.807

5.8

3

2.4

Newly-Recruited Members (Millions)

3.5

2.411

2.268

2.5

2.229

New-Recruited Members: Age, Gender, Education & Minority Representation (2009)

0.919

0.862

0.866

1.113

1.5

1.023

0.994

2007 2008

0 35 years and below

Females

College Education and Above

Source: CCP website and various Chinese news sources

Minorities

0.224

0.5

0.198

1 0.187

Size in Millions

2

2009

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 policymaking – Under the CPC leadership

The Eight Democratic Parties Name

Date of Foundation

Main Constituents

Membership

Chairperson of Central Committee

China Revolutionary Committee of the Kuomintang

January 1948

Former Kuomintang members and people having historical connections with the Kuomintang

81,000

He Luli

China Democratic League

October 1941

Senior and leading intellectuals in culture, education, and science and technology

> 181,000

Jiang Shusheng

China Democratic National Construction Association

December 1945

Industrialists and businessmen

> 108,000

Cheng Siwei

China Association for Promoting Democracy

December 1945

Senior and leading intellectuals in culture, education and publishing

> 103,000

Xu Jialu

Chinese Peasants and Workers Democratic Party

August 1930

Senior and leading intellectuals in medical field

> 99,000

Jiang Zhenghua

China Zhi Gong Dang

October 1925

Middle and upper social strata of returned overseas Chinese and their relatives

> 28,000

Luo Haocai

Jiu San Society

May 1946

Senior and leading intellectuals in science and technology

> 105,000

Han Qide

Taiwan Democratic Selfgovernment League

November 1947

People born or with family roots in Taiwan

> 2,100

Lin Wenyi

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

2000 1800 1600 1400 1200

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

No. of Foundations

1144

1340

1597 892

200,000

975

250,000

954

No. of Social Organizations & Civil Non-Enterprise Institutions

300,000

1843

Size of NGOs in China (1998-2009)

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 oneparty dominant system – Around 28 political parties • More active ones about 10

More Active Political Parties

People’s Action Party

Singapore People’s Party

Singapore Democratic Alliance

Workers’ Party

National Solidarity Party

Singapore Justice Party

Singapore Democratic Party

Reform Party

Singapore Malay National Socialist Front 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

Year

Result s

% of Votes Polled

Name of Candidates

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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