Constitution of Singapore

Status: Republic

Legislature: Parliament of Singapore

Independence: 9 August 1965

Singapore is a republic and a parliamentary democracy, with an elective, non-executive presidency. The constitution came into force on 2 June 1959. It provides for a head of state, a prime minister and a cabinet, and a unicameral Parliament. Elections, under universal adult suffrage and compulsory voting, must be held at least every five years.

The prime minister is the leader of the majority party in parliament, who chooses a cabinet from among the members of parliament.

The Parliament is made up of three types of members: 87 elected members (75 elected in teams of between three and six to represent 14 group representation constituencies and nine in single-member constituencies); up to nine nominated members (NMPs); and up to three non-constituency members (NCMPs) from the opposition political parties. In early 2011 the Eleventh Parliament had 94 members, comprising 84 elected members, nine NMPs and one NCMP.

The president is directly elected by universal adult suffrage for a six-year term. In practice the president no longer has powers of veto over legislation or appointments. The position is largely ceremonial. The first presidential election was held in 1993 but, in 1999 and in 2005, when the election committee, under the very restrictive eligibility rules, found only one candidate to be eligible, there was no election.