Tharman Shanmugaratnam received about 70 percent of the votes cast.
Former deputy prime minister and central bank chief Tharman Shanmugaratnam won the presidential election in Singapore. The electoral authority declared the 66-year-old winner on Friday, with 70.4 percent of votes cast. For the first time in more than a decade, voters were able to choose between multiple candidates in a presidential election. Shanmugaratnam defeated two opposing candidates and replaced incumbent Halimah Yacob.
“I believe this is a vote of confidence for Singapore,” Shanmugaratnam said in a speech before the results were announced. “It is a vote of optimism for a future in which we can move forward together.” Voting was mandatory for the country’s more than 2.7 million eligible voters. Long, well-ordered queues formed at polling stations.
Shanmugaratnam was the favorite in the presidential race. As required by law, the long-time supporter of the ruling PAP party resigned from the party before running for office. The 66-year-old was considered a government-backed candidate whose independence was questioned during the election campaign. The PAP has governed the Asian city-state uninterruptedly since 1959.
Although the president’s role is broadly representative, strict requirements still apply. Candidates must have worked as a high-ranking civil servant or as a company director with a net worth equivalent to at least 341 million euros. The president of Singapore can veto appointments to important public positions and approve corruption investigations even against the will of the head of government. The head of state is also the guardian of Singapore’s reserves, which can only be accessed in exceptional cases, such as the corona pandemic or the global financial crisis in 2009.
The PAP has recently been involved in a series of political scandals, including a corruption investigation involving the transport minister. Such matters are rare in the city-state, which attracts foreign investment with a reputation for clean government. In the 2020 general elections, the PAP achieved the worst result in its history, but maintained a two-thirds majority.