[Button id="2"] [Button id="1"]
SINGAPORE, June 8 — Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam announced today that he will be running as a candidate for the upcoming presidential election.
In a letter to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Thursday, Tharman said that he has decided to put himself forward as a candidate for the elections, and “hence wish to retire from politics and all my positions in Government”.
He also communicated his intention to resign as a member of the People’s Action party (PAP).
In his reply letter to Tharman, Lee said that his departure from the Cabinet would be a heavy loss to him and the team.
“But I understand why you have decided to make this move and run for President. It is with keeping with the spirit of public service and sense of duty that you have shown all these years.”
Tharman, who last held positions as Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies, will be among the most senior ranking candidates from the PAP to contest for the highest office.
The next presidential elections must be held by Sept 13 when incumbent Halimah Yacob’s six-year term expires.
Prior to being appointed Senior Minister, Tharman, 66, has served as Deputy Prime Minister from 2011 until 2019.
He was also Minister for Finance until 2015 and Minister for Education for five years until 2008.
Tharman was first elected Member of Parliament in November 2001 in Jurong Group Representation Constituency (GRC) and has been re-elected four times since.
In the last election in 2020, the PAP team that Tharman led claimed the largest victory in any constituency, winning 74.62 per cent of the vote against new party Red Dot United.
Other PAP-endorsed candidates who have contested for or successfully became president were Halimah and Dr Tony Tan.
Halimah announced in late May that she will not be standing for re-election, saying that she made the decision after “very careful consideration”.
To qualify as candidates in a presidential election, a candidate must be at least 45 years old and meet the public or private sector requirements.
There are around 50 public service positions that may fulfil the public sector service requirement to run in the next presidential elections, according to Minister-in-Charge of the Public Service Chan Chun Sing in a written response to a parliamentary question last month.
For potential candidates looking to qualify under the private sector service requirement, there are more than 1,200 companies with average shareholders’ equity at or exceeding S$500 million, said Chan.
The upcoming presidential election will not be reserved for any minority race, as opposed to the last one in 2017 which was reserved for ethnic Malays because there had not been a president from the racial group for the five most recent presidential terms prior. — TODAY