Out of fear that a non-PAP-endorsed candidate will win the coming Presidential Election, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that changes will be made to the candidate’s requirements and criteria.
Lee Hsien Loong claimed that the Singapore President must not be allowed to make decisions based on his own judgment.
“The review should also look into building up the Council of Presidential Advisors, to ensure that the system does not rest on the judgment of a single person.”
This is not the first time Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong shifted the goal posts of elections to benefit his government’s agenda. In 2011, he introduced a “cooling off day”, where only the mainstream media can be allowed to advertise for the ruling party in the name of “neutral” political reports. In 2016, Lee Hsien Loong’s Election Department introduced a “pre-result” election result during vote counting, and claimed that this will “help dispel rumors” in the few hours before the actual announcement.
Currently, the criteria for a Presidential candidate requires one to have held office for a period of not less than three years in position of seniority and responsibility in the public or private sector. These include ministerial positions, and CEO or directorship roles in companies with a paid-up capital of at least S$100 million or its equivalent in foreign currency.
Because of the high requirements needed to run for presidential elections, many presidential elections have been uncontested. All presidential elections have been walkovers except for the first one, held in 1993 which was contested by two people, and the 2011 one, contested by four people.
The next Singaporean presidential election is due to be held on or before 26 August 2017. The current President Tony Tan failed to achieve majority votes and won only 35.2% of the total votes.