In my earlier article I explained why the EP is at most a LPPL President. His key role to check on a rogue govt is at best a scarecrow attempt. A rogue govt in all counts will be in control of every instrument of the state and would just rubbish the EP if they have to, and there is nothing the EP can do about it. They could crudely bundle him out of the Istana in a gunny sack.
But under certain conditions, the EP is a source of strength in a contest for power and dominance. A likely scenario where the EP can play a crucial role is during a freak election. Take the last GE for illustration. If the PAP had lost the election they will have to rely on the EP for some semblance of authority and legitimacy if they want to take up a fight with the new govt. My speculation below is just for discussion.
When a new party takes office, what it would face is a whole machinery of govt organizations with heads appointed by the defeated ruling govt. The loyalty of these heads, from the military, civil service, judicial and all the ministries are likely to be still with the past govt. And the new govt would have to make changes to be rubber stamped by the EP. See what the EP can do in such a situation? The retention of all the incumbents in office will mean that the defeated party is still the de facto force to reckon with. And the new govt will have a hard time if these heads refuse to tow the line, and cannot be removed because of a veto by the EP.
Any attempt to break the impasse would only lead to more tension, and raises the importance of the EP office that is backed up by all the incumbent heads. Yes, this will include the military, police and all uniformed groups. Someone said they will be called upon to remove a rogue govt or a new govt. Possible, likely? In such a situation, the authority of the EP can be called upon to march out the troops. That is the only legitimate source of power left for the ex govt.
And yes, the EP can block any attempt to touch the reserves with all the govt agencies behind him. He is not a lame duck or a straw man in such a situation.
The EP is the fall back position. And he is worth every cent paid to him when such a situation arises. Don’t pray, pray with the LPPL President. He has a big role to play when a crisis demands it. Other than this, his role is primarily ceremonial. Nathan lives that role perfectly, to the letter in the Constitution. And Tony Tan knows it too. He will be an excellent EP in the same mould as Nathan.
The other 3 candidates appeared to be eager beavers, wanting to do a lot of things that the EP was not designed to do. A strong PM can completely ignore him or shut him off. Can an EP order a PM or minister to listen to his rants or to have tea with him? All they need to do is to tell him they are busy. Period.