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

Singapore: Tharman Shanmugaratnam, an Indian-origin Singapore-born economist, registered a landslide victory in Singapore’s presidential election on Friday, winning over 70 per cent of votes in the country’s first contested presidential polls since 2011.

The 66-year-old former senior minister bagged 70.4 per cent (1,746,427 votes) of the 2.48 million votes cast, while his Chinese-origin rivals Ng Kok Song and Tan Kin Lian received 15.72 per cent and 13.88 per cent respectively, the Elections Department said.

The result was announced by Returning Officer Tan Meng Dui at past midnight, making Tharman Singapore’s third Indian-origin president.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong congratulated Tharman Shanmugaratnam on winning the presidential election.

Lee Hsien Loong said, “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.”

“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 Hsien Loong said.

Tharman Shanmugaratnam earlier spoke at Taman Jurong Food Centre where his supporters had gathered and thanked his supporters and said that he was “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,” Tharman Shanmugaratnam said.

Tharman Shanmugaratnam added that he will “honour the trust that Singaporeans have placed in me and respect all Singaporeans including those who did not vote for me.”

About Tharman Shanmugaratnam: The president-elect Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who joined politics in 2001, has launched his campaign for the polls in July and had promised the country to evolve the country’s culture to keep it a “shining spot” in the world.

Sixty-six-year-old Tharman Shanmugaratnam had served as Singapore’s Deputy prime minister from 2011 to 2019. He joined politics in 2001. He has also worked in the public sector and held ministerial positions.

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).

Madam Halimah Yacob, Singapore’s eighth and first female president, will conclude her six-year term on September 13. The recent election marked Singapore’s first competitive presidential race since 2011.