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Focus on partisan advantage has rendered modern democracies ineffective: Ng Eng Hen

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MODERN democracies have been unable to govern effectively, in part because they have focused on partisan advantage, said Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen in Germany on Sunday.

"We all understand how modern democratic, liberal democratic systems work - checks and balances to counter the concentration of power of dictators. But modern democracies focused on partisan advantage and interests, and have not been able to govern effectively," said Dr Ng.

Using the example of the US - because it is the richest democracy - Dr Ng noted how in recent years, the US federal government faced shutdown when its budget could not be passed.

"Coalition governments compromise themselves into ineffectiveness. So citizens become disenfranchised and cynical about the entire political process," said Dr Ng.

He was speaking at the 8th Munich Young Leaders Round Table on the sidelines of the 52nd Munich Security Conference.

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