Past and Future
Singapore has a unicameral parliament and, since 1993, an elected President who holds the position for a maximum of six years. Members of parliament are elected either from single-member constituencies or from Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs) which were introduced for the 1988 General Election. GRCs require parties to put up a team that varies from four to six members depending on the constituency. One of the group must be from a minority community. In the 1997 election there were only nine single-member constituencies and 15 GRCs (from which 74 members were elected). Thus there are a total of 83 elected members of parliament. Forty-seven of the 83 seats were not contested. The number of each type of constituency and their geographical coverage is regularly revised by the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee which reports its rearrangements to the Cabinet so they are not discussed in parliament and are usually announced shortly before the general election is due to be held. In addition to elected members of parliament there are a number of Nominated Members of Parliament, nine in 2000, appointed by the President for a period of two years. In addition there can be three (or up to a maximum of six) NonConstituency MPs (NCMPs) who are the highest supported, non-elected candidates from an opposition party. The actual number of NCMPs is reduced by one for each candidate from an opposition party who is actually elected so, for example, after the 1997 General Election, as two opposition party members were returned,...
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