Singapore’s general elections 2011: democratic politics in internet spaces

5 May, 2020

To what extent do internet technologies play a role in political elections?

The 2011 Singapore General Election (GE2011) has often been hailed as an “Internet Election”, ushering in a new era where mass participation through social platforms on the internet amplified oppositional politics and voices. While opposition legislative representation in Singapore had never exceeded four seats in past elections, the GE2011 was significant for being its first-ever occurrence. In fact, the opposition’s best-ever showing at the GE2011 has been largely speculated to be related to the role of the internet in fostering democratizing agendas.

In ‘Internet spaces and the (re)making of democratic politics: the case of Singapore’s 2011 General Elections’ (GeoJournal, 2018), Associate Professor Chih Yuan Woon (NUS Department of Geography) utilizes the GE2011 as a case study to investigate the extent to which internet technologies can help to harness political participation and democratization in Singapore. In focalizing the research, the paper looks at literature that examines the relationship between political elections and the themes of cyberspace, social media, and democracy. The research also involved semi-structured interviews with respondents who were identified as having significantly engaged with online discussions related to GE2011.

In addressing these research queries, the paper also serves to underscore the broader state of democracy in Singapore. In particular, it records the aspirations and hopes of citizens for political change, and the sort of democracy that they want to see progressively initiated in Singaporean society.

Read the full article here.