Singapore Ex-Deputy PM Shanmugaratnam Elected President

According to official findings, former Singapore deputy prime minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam was chosen president Friday in the city-state’s first contested poll for the mostly ceremonial role in more than a decade.

After receiving 70.4 percent of the votes cast, the Elections Department pronounced the 66-year-old economist the winner over two opposition candidates.

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

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

“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,” Shanmugaratnam said in a speech before the results were announced.

The post, which technically controls the city’s accumulated financial reserves and has the authority to veto certain policies and approve anti-graft probes, has severe criteria.

According to observers, Shanmugaratnam’s victory benefits the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), which is largely thought to favor his candidacy.

A rare spate of political controversies ahead of the presidential election has harmed the party that has controlled Singapore continuously since 1959.

Shanmugaratnam, a former finance minister, was a long-time PAP supporter before resigning to seek for the non-partisan presidency.

His independence had been questioned during the campaign because of his previous ties with the government.

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