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
Date Written: July 7, 2018
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)
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