Singapore is gearing up for a significant milestone in its democratic process as the nation prepares for the upcoming presidential elections.
Amidst mounting anticipation, former Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has officially declared his candidacy, making him a formidable contender in the race for the nation’s highest office.
In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong today (June 8), Mr Tharman announced his decision to participate as a candidate in the upcoming presidential election. As a result, he expressed his intention to retire from politics and resign from all his government positions.
Mr Tharman, 66, stated his plan to relinquish his membership in the People’s Action Party (PAP) and step down from his roles as Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies on July 7, which is a month from the day of the letter.
He explained that this timing allows him to fulfil his existing commitments both domestically and internationally, while also ensuring that proper arrangements are made to ensure the continued welfare of his constituents in Jurong GRC for the remainder of the electoral term.
This announcement comes after President Halimah Yacob said on May 29 that she would not be running for a second term.
Tharman was first elected in Parliament in 2001
Known for his astute leadership and extensive experience in public service, Tharman brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table.
He has a notable political career, beginning with his election into Parliament in Jurong GRC in November 2001. Since then, he has been successfully re-elected four times.
Currently, Mr Tharman holds several prominent positions, including Senior Minister since 2019, Coordinating Minister for Social Policies since 2015, and chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) since 2011. He also serves as the deputy chairman of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) since 2019 and chairs its Investment Strategies Committee.
In his previous roles, he has served as Deputy Prime Minister, Finance Minister, and Education Minister, showcasing his diverse expertise in various sectors.
Before entering politics, Mr Tharman spent the majority of his professional career at the MAS, gaining valuable experience in the financial sector.
Tharman’s decision to run for the presidency has not come as a surprise to many. Over the years, he has garnered widespread support and admiration from Singaporeans across all walks of life. His commitment to social welfare, economic development, and inclusivity has resonated with citizens, making him a popular figure among voters.
With the presidential elections now less than three months away, Singaporeans are eagerly anticipating an engaging and substantive campaign. The position of the President in Singapore is largely ceremonial but holds significant symbolic importance. The President plays a crucial role in upholding the integrity of Singapore’s democratic institutions, acting as a unifying figure and safeguarding the nation’s stability.
The Elections Department will oversee the smooth running of the electoral process, ensuring transparency, fairness, and adherence to the highest standards of democracy. Singaporeans are encouraged to actively participate in the elections, exercise their right to vote, and play a crucial role in shaping the future of their nation.
Mr Tharman’s decision to run for the presidency adds a new dimension to the electoral race, and his candidacy promises to stimulate healthy debate and generate fresh perspectives. The nation eagerly awaits the campaign trail and the eventual election results, as Singapore charts a course towards a future under the stewardship of its next President.
Featured Image Credit: Munshi Ahmed | Bloomberg | Getty Images