Changes to Elected Presidency passed in Parliament

Singapore Parliament building. (Yahoo file photo)

Changes to the Constitution to ensure that candidates from all races can run in the Elected Presidency from time to time have been passed in Parliament after three days of debate on the issue.

A total of 77 Members of Parliament approved the Bill to amend the Constitution on Wednesday (9 November) while all six MPs from the Workers’ Party opposed it.

The changes, which also include raising the criteria for candidates, state that if there is no President from a particular race for five consecutive terms, the next term will be reserved for a candidate from that race.

The countdown starts from Wee Kim Wee (1985-93), the first President who exercised the powers of the Elected Presidency. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Tuesday during the debate that the next Presidential Election in 2017 will be reserved for Malay candidates.

Lee stressed that the changes were his responsibility. “I am doing it now because it would be irresponsible of me to kick this can down the road and leave the problem to my successors,” he said.