How a LPPL President can be critical to a power shift?

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.


Anonymous said...

Under the above scenario it is really scary and worrisome. When things come to a crunch the people will sponstaneously invoke people's power and like a Sunnami nothing can stop it. Look at what is happening to the political sunnamis in the Middle East.We must hope and pray cool heads and right political doctrine and ethos will prevail and no one will adopt the kiasuism practice to up the ante thus eventually causing unnecessary choas and turmoil. Singaporeans and all the political parties must work together with right ethics and morals to build a happy, prosperous and peaceful country for one and all and not for self satisfying and selfish self aggrandizement and self glory.


Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Every political system has strength and weakness. Multi party system may appear weak but its strength is to prevent concentration of power for too long a time. Regular changes of political rulers do not allow too much abuses to be accummulated over the years.

In one party or dictatorship, too much power will be held by a few for too long and often led to abuses. The more the abuses, the more difficult it is to dismount from the tiger as the tiger will turn around to eat up the rider.

It leads to a vicious cycle of self preservation, which leads to more abuses, and more dangerous to give up power. Then it will just 'pops'.

Anonymous said...

When thing goes freaky, that is, an election result is disputed or denied and when the army takes the order from the loser(of the election), an ultimate freak; me must say, then indeed Sinami maybe all there is left for Singaporeans.

'wu ji pi fan' meaning when forced to extreme, reaction is likely to be just as extreme.

Well, one thing Singaporeans are very sure and logically so is that with or WITHOUT a president makes no difference. However, the contest for one has bring much drama to have us entertained. Quite fun really, at least to me.


Anonymous said...

If the army takes orders from the loser of the elections, then will UN or the West step in? This is quite a similar situation as in the Middle East and Africa. Citizens wanting a regime change, the rulers resist, and the West comes in to help them to achieve that. Or, are we different?

Haha, interesting thought!

waileong said...

There is no such thing as a "freak" election. Just because PAP loses does not make the result a "freak" result. In fact, it can be said that we have had at least 10 freak election results already. There's no democratic country in the world where one party has stayed in power for over 50 years and 11 elections.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi waileong, you are right in your observation. The freaks will see normal things as freaks. The normal will see normal things as normal.

There are several freaks in the media today with their freakish comments.