Tagged: Presidential Elections Committee

From Eligibility to Election: The Mechanics of the Presidential Poll


The reverse of a poll card issued for the presidential election in 2011. (By Jack Lee [public domain or CC BY-SA 3.0], via the Wikimedia Commons.)

Dr Jack Tsen-Ta Lee
Assistant Professor of Law
School of Law, SMU

ON 9 NOVEMBER 2016, Parliament enacted the most significant constitutional amendment in the 21st century thus far, making wide-ranging changes to the Elected Presidency scheme. These amendments were preceded by a detailed examination of aspects of the scheme by a Constitutional Commission chaired by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon which rendered its report on 17 August,[1] and a white paper issued by the Government in response to the report on 15 September.[2]

Most of the debate on the constitutional amendment bill[3] that took place in Parliament on 8 and 9 November concerned major alterations that were proposed. These were the increase in the qualifying financial value of a company from $100 million to $500 million for a prospective candidate seeking a certificate of eligibility under what the Commission termed the private-sector qualifying office route,[4] and the introduction of elections from time to time reserved for members of particular minority communities.[5]

What should not be overlooked are the changes proposed and made to the mechanics for electing the President. Continue reading

Let presidential hopefuls have their say

A sign at one of the nomination centres used during the 2011 general election. Nomination day for the presidential election is 17 August 2011. (© 2011 Jack Tsen-Ta Lee.)

Jack Tsen-Ta Lee
Assistant Professor of Law
School of Law, SMU

TWO DAYS AGO [August 11, 2011], the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC) issued certificates of eligibility to four of the six prospective candidates who applied to contest the presidential election. We are thus assured of a poll for the first time in 18 years, and with the largest number of candidates to date.

The PEC’s announcement of its decisions makes interesting reading for what it does and does not say. It allows observers to examine how the Committee goes about fulfilling its crucial duty.

The Committee consists of the Chairmen of the Public Service Commission (PSC) and Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), and a member of the Presidential Council for Minority Rights (PCMR) nominated by the Council’s Chairman. The Government’s power over the PEC’s composition is regulated to an extent, as the outgoing President had personal discretion to veto appointments of unsuitable persons as PSC Chairman, and as the Chairman and members of the PCMR.

Nonetheless, how the PEC carries out its task can be improved. Continue reading