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


Tharman Shanmugaratnam, an Indian-born economist born in Singapore, recorded a landslide victory in Singapore’s presidential election on Friday. Picture file.

Tharman Shanmugaratnam, a Singapore-born Indian-born economist, recorded a landslide victory in Singapore’s presidential election on Friday, winning more than 70 percent of the vote in the country’s first disputed presidential election since 2011.

The 66-year-old former minister secured 70.4 percent (1,746,427 votes) of the 2.48 million votes cast, while his Chinese-born rivals Ng Kok Song and Tan Kin Lian secured 15.72 respectively. percent and 13.88 percent, according to the Department of Elections. said.

The result was announced by returning officer Tan Meng Dui past midnight, making Tharman Singapore the third president of Indian descent.

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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong congratulated Tharman, who served as Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister from 2011 to 2019, on his victory in the presidential election.

“Singaporeans have chosen Tharman Shanmugaratnam as their next president by a decisive margin. As Head of State, he will represent us at home and abroad and exercise custodial powers, including over reserves and key appointments,” he said.

Lee noted that in Friday’s election, voters and candidates showed a better understanding of the president’s roles and duties, which bodes well for Singapore.

“I am confident that he will serve as president with distinction,” he said.

Speaking earlier at the Taman Jurong Food Center where his supporters had gathered, Tharman said he was genuinely touched by the strong support Singaporeans have shown him.

“I am humbled by this vote – it’s not just a vote for me, it’s a vote for Singapore’s future, a future of optimism and solidarity. It really is. My campaign was one of optimism and solidarity, and I believe that is what Singaporeans want,” he said. “I will honor the trust that Singaporeans have placed in me and I will respect all Singaporeans, including those who did not vote for me,” Tharman said.

Prime Minister Lee’s People’s Action Party (PAP) backed Tharman in the election.

Lee said he congratulated Tharman on his resounding victory to assure him of his government’s full cooperation.

“Tharman has also declared its intention to work closely with the government. As head of state, the president should be a unifying figure that all Singaporeans can look up to and identify with,” Lee said.

Tharman officially kicked off his presidential campaign in July with a pledge to change the country’s culture to make it a “shining spot” in the world.

He entered politics in 2001 and held public sector and ministerial posts in the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) for more than two decades.

More than 2.7 million voters cast their ballots. Voters began voting at 8 a.m. when polling stations opened. Polling stations closed at 8 p.m. (local time).

The six-year term of the outgoing president, Ms. Halimah Yacob, will end on September 13. She is the eighth and first female president of the country.

It was Singapore’s first contested presidential election since 2011. Singapore has had two presidents of Indian descent in the past.

Sellapan Ramanathan, popularly known as SR Nathan, a Singaporean politician and civil servant of Tamil origin, served as the President of Singapore. In 2009, Nathan beat Benjamin Sheares to become Singapore’s longest-serving president.

Chengara Veetil Devan Nair, better known as Devan Nair, served as the third President of Singapore from 1981 until his resignation in 1985. Born in 1923 in Malacca, Malaysia, Nair was the son of an employee of a rubber plantation, originally from Thalassery, Kerala.

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