There are 2.3 million voters in the upcoming election for Singapore’s next president.
This means that if all the Tans who have been cleared to stand decide to throw down their gauntlets on Wednesday, each will have to garner a minimum of 287,500 votes in order to get back the $48,000 he has put down as deposit to contest.
OK, let’s say for whatever reasons, some 300,000 eligible voters don’t or can’t vote, because they are away or are too ill to go and vote.
That means each candidate’s money-back threshold will be reduced to say 250,000 votes or 12.5% of the voting base.
To illustrate how huge an undertaking this still is, consider that Aljunied had just 133,685 voters and three out of the five Workers Party’s candidates are brand-names among the Opposition, with one having long entrenched himself as the face of Singapore’s loyal opposition.
How many of the Tans in the hopeful quartet can claim to have as firm an image in Singaporeans’ minds as Mr Low Thia Khiang?
How many of the four are absolutely confident of at least getting their money back, the noisy support from cyberspace notwithstanding?
The deposit money aside, there’s the mammoth logistics task on election night. How many of the Tans can muster the required number of polling agents to be at the hundreds of counting centres?
Additionally, what about the cost of campaigning? This isn’t exactly peanuts, even though capped at $600K, one rally and a short campaign period of nine days.
Even if candidates were to keep a tight rein on their expenses, I can imagine it won’t be less than 25% of the permitted amount, or $150K.
So what does this stack up for the potential three losers in a four-horse race? Still a six-figure hole in their bank accounts, even if they get to keep their deposit!
If it’s a renewed profile they are after, surely the money would be better spent buying ad space or time in the media? Or better still, take the money and go on an international conference circuit and network, network! 😆