Tharman Shanmugaratnam declares candidacy for Singapore presidential election

Senior Minister to resign from politics and government positions on 7 July to take part in the open election

Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam during a live People's Action Party webcast during the General Election. (PHOTO: PAP)
Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam during a live People's Action Party webcast during the General Election. (PHOTO: PAP)

SINGAPORE — Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has announced that he intends to run for candidacy for the upcoming Singapore presidential election, declaring his retirement from politics and all government positions.

In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Thursday (8 June), Tharman, 66, stated, "I wish to inform you that I have decided to put myself forward as a candidate in the forthcoming presidential election. I hence wish to retire from politics and all my positions in government."

Tharman, who holds the position of Co-ordinating Minister for Social Policies and is also Member of Parliament for Jurong GRC, outlined his plan to resign one month from now, on 7 July.

He said that this decision stems from his desire to prioritise his ongoing official obligations, both domestically and internationally, before his departure. He also emphasised the importance of ensuring that all necessary arrangements are in place to guarantee effective service to the constituents of Jurong GRC throughout the remainder of the electoral term.

PM Lee extended his well wishes to Tharman for his new journey.

Upcoming presidential election in Singapore

The next presidential election in Singapore is scheduled to take place by mid-September, and will be an open election, allowing candidates of all races to participate.

Tharman's career has been diverse, initially focusing on his work at the Monetary Authority of Singapore, where he held various roles including a two-year term as managing director.

He entered politics during the 2001 Singapore general election as a candidate for Jurong GRC, and has since been re-elected to Parliament four times.

He has served in significant ministerial positions, being appointed as Minister for Education from 2003 to 2008, followed by a nine-year tenure as Minister for Finance from 2007 to 2015. He also held the position of Minister for Manpower between 2011 and 2012.

President Halimah Yacob, who is currently serving as the country's eighth president, announced on 29 May stating that she will not be seeking a second term. The 68-year-old's six-year term will come to an end on 13 September.

PM Lee expresses gratitude for Tharman's service

In his Facebook post on Thursday, PM Lee highlighted the close working relationship he had with Tharman over the past 27 years.

He emphasised Tharman's significant contributions in strengthening social mobility and creating a robust social safety net.

"He has also done much to promote the growth and resilience of Singapore's economy, and to manage our nation's finances prudently. Internationally, he has flown the Singapore flag high and gained respect as a thought leader, especially in the social and economic domains," PM Lee said in his Facebook post.

While expressing regret at the loss of Tharman's leadership, insights, and wise counsel, PM Lee understood Tharman's decision to run for President.

"It is in keeping with the spirit of public service and sense of duty that he has shown all these years," he said.

PM Lee added that, should Tharman be elected as the next President, he will transition to a different role with new responsibilities independent of the executive branch. He expressed confidence that Tharman would carry out these duties diligently and with the independence of mind.

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