Could Singapore's Lee Hsien Loong stay on as PM because of COVID-19?

CNN's Fareed Zakaria interviews Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong via videoconference, on Sunday, 29 March 2020. SCREENCAP: CNN's Fareed Zakaria

SINGAPORE — Could Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong possibly postpone his plans to leave politics due to the COVID-19?

The question was put to Lee by CNN journalist Fareed Zakaria in a videoconference interview on Sunday evening (29 March), when the 68-year-old made an appearance on the weekly programme Fareed Zakaria GPS.

Fareed, who has interviewed Lee on several occasions, said that many in the Republic have told him they wish Lee would stay on as PM. “Could this crisis make you decide to postpone that decision to leave politics?”

Lee, who has said that the next General Election will be his last, did not answer the question directly. “I think we are... this crisis keeps my hands full. Let’s just focus on that for now.”

Lee, who is the eldest son of the late Lee Kuan Yew, has been Prime Minister since 2004.

A general election is due in Singapore by 15 April 2021. In a sign that an election is about to be called, the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) released its report on electoral boundaries in Singapore in mid-March.

PM Lee has said that Singapore faces a decision on whether to wait out the COVID-19 pandemic to hold a normal general election, or to call the election early to form a government with a full term ahead of it to work on critical tasks ahead.

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