SINGAPORE: A committee that reviews electoral boundaries ahead of a General Election (GE) has been set up, said the Elections Department on Wednesday (Sep 4).
The formation of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) and its subsequent report are key processes that need to be completed before a GE. It is appointed by the Prime Minister, who sets its guidelines or terms of reference.
In its media release, the Elections Department said the committee has been directed to further reduce the average size of the Group Representation Constituencies and to have more than the current 13 Single Member Constituencies.
It added that in reviewing the electoral boundaries, the EBRC has to take into consideration significant changes in the number of electors in the current electoral divisions, as a result of population shifts and housing development.
The committee is chaired by the Secretary to Prime Minister.
"It is now in the midst of its deliberations and will make its recommendations to the Prime Minister when it has completed its review," said the Elections Department.
The EBRC generally takes two to four months to complete its review on the constituencies and their boundaries, before making its recommendations in a report.
The Prime Minister has to accept the report and send it to Parliament. The changes are then gazetted and the report made public.
SMALLER GRCS, MORE SMCS
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had said in 2016 that he wants to further reduce the average size of GRCs and create more SMCs.
“In the last two general elections, we created smaller GRCs and more SMCs, and I think the results have been good,” he said in a speech to Parliament in January 2016.
“When I appoint the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee, I will instruct it to reduce the average size of GRCs further, and to create more SMCs.”
There are now 16 GRCs and 13 SMCs. Of the GRCs, two have six Members of Parliament (MPs) and eight have five MPs. The remaining six are four-member GRCs.
For GE2011, there were 15 GRCs and 12 SMCs.
That year, the Prime Minister received the EBRC report on Feb 21. Parliament was dissolved on Apr 19 and the GE was held on May 7.
In 2015, the EBRC’s report was sent to the Prime Minister on Jul 21. The GE that year was held less than two months later, on Sep 11, after Parliament was dissolved on Aug 25.
The next GE must be held by early April 2021.