Singapore’s former Indian-origin Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam was elected President on Friday, comfortably securing victory in the city-state’s first contested vote for the largely ceremonial position in more than a decade.
“My fellow Singaporeans, I am truly humbled by the strong endorsement you have given me in our nation’s presidential election. My fellow candidates put full effort and energy into their campaigns, and made this a worthy contest. I thank and commend them,” Mr Shanmugaratnam posted on Facebook.
“Above all I thank my fellow Singaporeans, whichever way you voted, for your interest and calm engagement in the issues raised in the election. I believe the vote for me and what I stood for is a vote of confidence in Singapore itself, a vote of optimism in how we can progress together and support each other as Singaporeans,” he said.
Singaporeans headed to the polls that were closely watched as an indication of support for the ruling party after a rare spate of scandals, but the longtime stalwart of the party won more than two-thirds of the vote over two rivals.
“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 and support each other as Singaporeans,” the former Finance Minister 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 said, as he won 70.4 per cent of the vote to win a six-year term.
While the presidency is a non-partisan post under the constitution, political lines had already been drawn ahead of the election to replace incumbent Halimah Yacob, who ran unopposed for her six-year term in 2017.