Not Enough to Win Another Lost Election: Malapportionment and Partisan Bias in Malaysia's 2013 and 2018 General Elections

25 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2018

See all articles by Steven Oliver

Steven Oliver

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Yale-NUS College

Kai Ostwald

University of British Columbia (UBC)

Date Written: July 7, 2018

Abstract

Decades of dominant party rule in Malaysia unexpectedly ended when UMNO and its Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition lost the 2018 election despite extensive electoral manipulations, including new electoral boundaries designed to produce a BN victory in defiance of flagging popular support. We use Brookes’ method to estimate the partisan bias in electoral boundaries from the 2013 and 2018 elections, as well as to assess the relative contribution of malapportionment, gerrymandering, and manipulation of turnout to that bias. The evidence suggests the BN did receive a substantial advantage over the opposition in the translation of votes into seats, with malapportionment playing the dominant role. Ultimately, while the extreme malapportionment could not overcome the BN’s vote deficit, it has serious implications for the new era of Malaysian politics.

Keywords: Malaysia, Electoral Integrity, Electoral Authoritarianism, Disproportionality, Partisan Bias, Malapportionment, Barisan Nasional (BN), United Malay National Organisation (UMNO)

Suggested Citation

Oliver, Steven and Ostwald, Kai, Not Enough to Win Another Lost Election: Malapportionment and Partisan Bias in Malaysia's 2013 and 2018 General Elections (July 7, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3209653 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3209653

Steven Oliver (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Yale-NUS College ( email )

10 College Avenue West #01-101
Singapore, 138609
Singapore

Kai Ostwald

University of British Columbia (UBC) ( email )

1855 West Mall
Vancouver, British Columbia BC V6T 1Z4
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://www.kaiostwald.me

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