Singapore elects Tharman Shanmugaratnam as new president

He replaces incumbent Halimah Yacob after securing more than 70 per cent of the vote

Tharman Shanmugaratnam waves to supporters while waiting for elections results. EPA
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Singapore's former deputy prime minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has been elected president, according to official results on Saturday.

The 66-year-old economist beat two rival candidates to secure 70.4 per cent of the vote, the Elections Department declared.

“I believe that it's a vote of confidence in Singapore. It's a vote of optimism for a future in which we can progress together,” Mr Shanmugaratnam said in a speech before the results were announced.

"I'm humbled by this vote. It is not just a vote for me, it is a vote for Singapore's future."

He replaces incumbent Halimah Yacob, who ran unopposed for her six-year term in 2017.

“I declare Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam as the candidate duly elected as the president of Singapore,” said election returning officer Tan Meng Dui.

The presidency formally oversees the city's financial reserves and holds the power to veto certain measures and approve anti-corruption inquiries.

The win is considered a boost for the ruling People's Action Party, which was widely perceived to favour his candidacy.

His main rival was Ng Kok Song, a former chief investment officer of Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC, who won 15.7 percent of the vote.

"The result is clear," he told reporters, adding that Mr Shanmugaratnam "has indeed earned a mandate from the people of Singapore."

The third candidate, Tan Kin Lian, 75, won the support of several opposition leaders but only picked up 13.88 per cent of votes.

The city-state's government is run by the prime minister, currently Lee Hsien Loong of the PAP.

"Singaporeans have chosen Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam to be our next president by a decisive margin," Mr Lee said.

Presidential candidates must have served either as a senior civil servant or the chief executive of a company with shareholder equity of at least 500 million Singaporean dollars ($370 million).

Updated: September 01, 2023, 6:00 PM