A former Singapore minister of Indian descent wins the presidential election

Former Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore Tharman Shanmugaratnam was elected President of the country. (file)

Singapore:

Singapore’s former deputy prime minister, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, was elected president Friday, according to official results, in the first contested vote in the city-state for the largely ceremonial post in more than a decade.

The Elections Department declared the 66-year-old economist the winner of two competing candidates, after receiving 70.4 percent of the vote.

“I hereby announce that Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam is the candidate elected as President of Singapore,” said election official Tan Ming Doi.

Mr. Shanmugaratnam replaces the incumbent Halimah Yacob who ran unopposed for her six-year term in 2017.

“I think it’s a vote of confidence in Singapore. It’s a vote of optimism for a future where we can go forward together,” Shanmugaratnam said in a speech before the results were announced.

There are strict requirements for the position, which formally oversees the city’s backlog and has the power to veto certain actions and approve anti-corruption investigations.

Observers said Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s victory represents a boost to the ruling People’s Action Party, which is widely believed to favor his candidacy.

The party, which has governed Singapore continuously since 1959, has been hit by a rare series of political scandals ahead of the presidential election.

Shanmugaratnam, who is also a former Finance Minister, was a longtime PAP supporter before he resigned to run for the non-partisan post of President.

His independence was called into question during the campaign because of his past ties with the government.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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