Tharman Shanmugaratnam Qualifies To Contest Singapore Presidential Election

Indian-origin former minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam and two others have been issued the certificates of eligibility for Singapore’s presidential election slated to take place on September 1, the Elections Department said in a statement on Friday.

At the close of applications for a Certificate of Eligibility on Thursday, the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC) received a total of six applications.

Out of these, the PEC qualified 66-year-old Tharman, former GIC investment chief Ng Kok Song, 75, and former National Trades Union Congress Income chief Tan Kin Lian, 75.

The committee, headed by Public Service Commission chairman Lee Tzu Yang and two Supreme Court judges, found that all three men were of integrity, good character and reputation.

“Based on the information available to the Committee, it is satisfied that Mr Tharman is a man of integrity, good character and reputation,” the Election Department said in a statement.

“The Committee is also satisfied that Mr Tharman has met the public sector service requirement under Article 19(3)(a), having held office for a period of 3 or more years as Minister,” the statement added.

Tharman, who had formally launched his presidential campaign last month with a pledge to evolve the country’s culture, filed his application for a certificate of eligibility on August 7.

In Singapore, candidates must apply for the Certificate of Eligibility if they wish to enter the presidential contest.

It is given to those who meet public or private sector requirements, among other criteria.

In addition, there is a community declaration, which allows candidates to declare if they are from the Chinese, Malay, Indian or “Other Minority” communities.

The ELD said it has notified all individuals on the outcome of their applications, and also told the unsuccessful applicants the reasons for rejecting them.

However, it added that the PEC will not publish the names of the unsuccessful candidates and the reasons for rejecting them.

The decision was taken after concern was expressed in the Report of the Constitutional Commission 2016 that potential applicants may be dissuaded from stepping forward to contest the elections for fear of embarrassment.

Tharman announced his intent to run in the city-state’s presidential election in June, after giving 22 years to active politics.

Prior to joining politics, Tharman was an economist and a civil servant at the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Singapore will hold its first Presidential Election since 2011, after eighth and first female president, Halimah Yacob, announced this year that she will not seek a second term. (IANS)

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