Thursday February 14, 2008
With elections just round the corner, you are bound to hear lots of interesting comments. If you find the jargon a little hard to understand, the glossary provided below should come in useful.
Slips of paper with the candidates’ names and symbols and a blank space for voters to indicate their choice by marking an X.
A special election held between regular elections in order to fill a vacancy caused by death, resignation or disqualification.
Talks given by candidates and key political figures as opposed to public rallies, which are banned.
An alliance of parties.
The electoral unit into which voters are organised to pick a representative in the Dewan Rakyat or a state legislative assembly.
A relatively unknown candidate who gets an unexpected amount of support or even wins.
Incidents of corruption of the electoral process that include bribery, the intimidation of voters and the spreading of damaging rumours about candidates.
The independent body that conducts parliamentary and state elections, registers voters and maintains electoral rolls.
The results of an election can be challenged in court. A petition can be presented within a specified period on various grounds, including bribery, intimidation or any misconduct that may have affected the results and non-compliance with the election laws and regulations.
A party’s official position in a general election, which includes its promises to voters.
A body of registered voters that will decide who is to represent them.
A person that has yet to decide whom he will vote for.
The rank-and-file of a party or voters that are not politically active.
To divide electoral districts in such a way that it favours one party.
An elected representative who is seeking re-election in the same constituency.
One who is not running on any party ticket.
A political principle that empowers a majority of 50% or more of a group to make decisions binding the whole.
A derogatory term commonly used to imply that a party is small and insignificant.
The election of representatives in the Dewan Rakyat for all parliamentary constituencies in Malaysia, conducted simultaneously in the peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak.
The practice of changing one’s party affiliation, especially when one is an elected representative.
To place self or partisan gain above larger party or public interests.
The day when the electorate cast their votes.
The advantage gained in politics by capitalising on a particular situation.
An unpopular action or stand that will mean the end of one’s political career and/or defeat at the polls.
The actual number/percentage of votes garnered as opposed to the number/percentage of seats won.
Not all voting is done in person at the polling centre. Those who qualify (police and military personnel, diplomats, students abroad, etc) can mail their ballot papers to the returning officers.
An official, usually the district officer, appointed by the Election Commission in each parliamentary constituency to oversee the elections.
The party that wins the elections and forms the government.
The election of representatives for state constituencies to the state legislative assembly.
When parties or individuals that usually do not see eye-to-eye enter into a partnership, the expression used is “politics makes strange bedfellows”.
It is commonly accepted that the winning party need this sort of results to form an effective government, linked possibly to the fact such numbers are required in the Dewan Rakyat to pass changes to the Federal Constitution.
Learn the lingo