Singapore: Authoritarian but Newly Competitive

Issue Date October 2011
Volume 22
Issue 4
Page Numbers 153-164
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The 2011 parliamentary election clearly demonstrated that Singapore has transformed into a competitive authoritarian regime. Not only did the ruling People’s Action Party’s share of the popular vote decline and the opposition win the most seats ever, there was meaningful contestation for ruling power for the first time. As a result of the government’s liberalization of the Internet, opposition parties were able to grow in strength by attracting more qualified candidates and an unprecedented number of volunteers. Besides signifying political change in Singapore, the election also worried Chinese leaders, who are trying to copy Singapore’s authoritarian state-capitalism.

About the Author

Stephan Ortmann is assistant professor of political economy at the City University of Hong Kong. His most recent book is Politics and Change in Singapore and Hong Kong: Containing Contention (2010).

View all work by Stephan Ortmann