Candidates Are Talking About ‘Mandate’. Here’s What That Means, Simplified For You


Last Updated on 2020-07-05 , 11:42 am




Over the past few days, article headlines have been filled with the word “mandate”… a notion which really perplexed me.

“Wtf is a mandate?” I asked as I munched on a date. “Is it like a reservoir?”

Intrigued, I went to look it up. And I soon found that a mandate is none of those I mentioned, but…


Well, just read on.

Candidates Are Talking About ‘Mandate’. Here’s What That Means, Simplified For You

If you clicked on this article, chances are… you have no idea what ‘Mandate’ means as well. But no fear; Goody Feed’s here to lend a listening ear.

“You’re the one who’s supposed to explain la bodoh,” said my editor Cam. “Walao eh bodoh la sia.”

Ahah… oops. 

So anyway, here’s a rough guideline to what a mandate’s all about.

According to Dictionarya mandate is defined as a command or authorisation to “act in a particular way on a public issue given by the electorate to its representative”.

This is further expanded upon in the world of politics, where the term is deemed to constitute the authority granted by a constituency (to act as its representative). As Wikipedia aptly puts it:

“The concept of a government having a legitimate mandate to govern via the fair winning of a democratic election is a central idea of representative democracy.”

Simply put, it’s the go-ahead to operate the country in a specific manner, with the consent given by the masses (via platforms such as a democratic election).

So when political candidates request for a clear mandate from the people, they’re basically saying, come support me lah, please. Give me permission to lead you in the way I feel is best for the next five years.

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The word ‘Mandate’ has been used rather frequently in recent times, as the upcoming elections edge ever closer. On Sunday (28 June), Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat told reporters that a clear mandate is of utmost importance, as it would allow the political party in question to advance with full intent and purpose.

“It is very important for us to have a clear mandate from our people so that we can tackle these many challenges ahead,” he said.

His response comes after a reporter had raised a point by Workers’ Party chief Pritam Singh, in regards to the issue of balance in Parliament.

Mr Singh had expressed on Saturday that the PAP could have as many as 72 seats in its hands, not including the 21 seats that the Worker’s Party is contesting, and that it would still form a strong mandate.


Mr Heng said: “As you can see, it’s not just the WP who is contesting. It is likely that all seats will be contested… And therefore the risk of everybody thinking the same way… ‘it’s ok, let us just take a risk with this’ – that’s not something I would recommend.

“Because I think it is very important for us to have a clear mandate, to have clear support.”

Prime Minister Lee has also expressed his views on what a “strong mandate” would look like.

According to Channel News Asiahe said that it should be a qualitative measure of things rather than just comparative numbers.

“If we have an outcome where at the end of the election everybody feels, ‘this is good, it’s decided, let’s move ahead … I may or may not have voted for him, but I will support him because that is the outcome’, I think that is a good outcome.”

Jamus Lim’s closing speech about WP’s intentions and the PAP’s mandate in a public debate on live TV also made him the internet darling overnight:


In the 2015 General Election, PAP swept 69.9 per cent of the votes, a significant jump from 2011’s 60.1 per cent.

Lest you’ve forgotten, polling day will be on next Friday (10 July). So what happens if you didn’t vote? Would you be jailed? Would you be barred from buying bubble tea for the next five years? Watch this video and you’ll know the consequences:

Fresh grads, you don’t need any experience to earn up to $4,200 with this “secret”:

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