So how now, this PAP leadership succession? Who is going to be the next PM?
This, unsurprisingly, has been the hot topic on Singaporeans’ lips since Heng Swee Keat announced that he was stepping aside as the leader of the PAP’s fourth generation.
Under the system that we have, Singaporeans don’t get to directly choose our own prime minister; we only get to elect representatives to Parliament. The party with the most elected parliamentarians gets to form the government, and it’s usually that party's leader who becomes the prime minister.
This is a similar system to that of the UK (which is where we got it from). But leadership transitions within political parties in the UK are more transparent than in Singapore. Leadership contests are common, and indeed, expected. One can easily find explainers about Labour and Tory leadership contests in the UK, and learn about how they work.
In Singapore, there isn't much that the average citizen knows, or can say, about the leadership of the dominant People’s Action Party, and how they're chosen. Beyond vague statements along the lines of being “first among equals”, we don’t really know what the criteria for being PAP top dog is, and the cadre system is a closed loop that even ordinary PAP members have little influence over.
What do you think about this state of affairs? What are political processes, like leadership transitions, like in other countries? What should political processes look like in Singapore?
This Friday night at 8pm, I'll be talking about political processes and leadership transitions with political scientists Ian Chong and Elvin Ong, as well as Liyana Dhamirah of Red Dot United, on Twitter Spaces! (If you don't know what Twitter Spaces is, it's basically Twitter's copy of Clubhouse. If you don't know what Clubhouse is, it's okay, just read that link about Spaces. 😛)
Hop over on Twitter on Friday and look out for the link — I'll be tweeting it out @kixes. It's going to be a bit of an experiment since none of us have much (or any) experience with Twitter Spaces, but we hope it'll be more of a free-flowing conversation than a formal panel-style discussion. Come with your (relevant) questions/comments!
I know people have been asking about this, and yes, I'm working on bringing democracy classrooms back and aim to hold one in May. But I'm also experimenting with other platforms and options, so this Twitter Spaces experiment is a way of seeing if this is a good way of having conversations about important issues.
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