Is it better to run as a party candidate or as an independent?

Last updated on December 28, 2023

There are 2 main categories of candidates – candidates from political parties and independent candidates who are not affiliated to any political party.

While independent candidates are allowed to run, they are hardly ever seen in contested elections which usually only involve the PAP and the major opposition parties, as independent candidates are deterred by the risk of having to forfeit their election deposit in the event that their votes fail to garner at least 1/8th of the votes in the contested constituency. For example, the election deposit for the 2020 general election (GE) was $13,500.

Do party candidates have an advantage over independent candidates? It seems to be the case – independent candidates have garnered less votes on average as compared to party candidates. Advantages which party candidates may have over independent candidates include:

  • The benefit of an established party brand name
  • Organisational and logistical assistance
  • Backing of popular political leaders in the party

Therefore, independent candidates who are intent on overcoming the odds in the GEs are likely to be well-known, established and prominent individuals with proven leadership achievements in their field of expertise.