• Sunday, September 24, 2023


Indian-origin ex-minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam wins Singapore presidential election

The 66-year-old won defeating two other Chinese-origin contenders in the country’s first contested presidential polls since 2011.

Singapore president-elect Tharman Shanmugaratnam (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

THARMAN Shanmugaratnam, an Indian-origin Singapore-born economist, won Singapore’s presidential election on Friday (1), defeating two other Chinese-origin contenders in the country’s first contested presidential polls since 2011.

Shanmugaratnam, 66, who served as Singapore’s deputy prime minister from 2011 to 2019, got 70.4 per cent votes while his rivals Ng Kok Song and Tan Kin Lian bagged 15.7 per cent and 13.88 per cent respectively, the Elections Department spokesman said.

Singaporean prime minister Lee Hsien Loong congratulated Tharman on winning the presidential election.

“Singaporeans have chosen Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam to be our next president by a decisive margin. As head of state, he will represent us at home and abroad, and exercise custodial powers, including over the reserves and key appointments,” he said.

“I thank the three candidates for putting themselves forward in this presidential election. I am happy that Singaporeans have been able to exercise the right to vote for our next president, and to focus on what the elected president is about. In this election, both voters and candidates have shown a greater understanding of the roles and duties of the president, which bodes well for Singapore,” Lee said.

Earlier, speaking at Taman Jurong Food Centre where his supporters had gathered, Tharman said he is “truly humbled by the strong endorsement” Singaporeans have given him.

“I’m humbled by this vote – it is not just a vote for me, it is a vote for Singapore’s future, a future of optimism and solidarity. That’s what it really is. My campaign was one of optimism and solidarity, and I believe that’s what Singaporeans want,” he said.

“I will honour the trust that Singaporeans have placed in me and respect all Singaporeans including those who did not vote for me,” Tharman was quoted as saying by Channel News Asia.

Tharman formally launched his presidential campaign in July with a pledge to evolve the country’s culture to keep it a “shining spot” in the world. He joined politics in 2001 and has served in the public sector and ministerial positions with the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) for over two decades.

Over 2.7 million voters cast their ballots. The voters started casting their ballots at 8 AM when polling stations opened. The polls closed at 8 PM (local time).

Incumbent President Madam Halimah Yacob’s six-year term will conclude on September 13. She is the country’s eighth and the first woman president. This was Singapore’s first contested presidential election since 2011.

(With PTI inputs)

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