Singapore’s Indian-origin economist Tharman Shanmugaratnam received a resounding mandate with a whopping 70.4 per cent votes in a three-way contest to elect the city-state’s ninth President on Friday.
More than 2.7 million Singaporeans voted to elect the 66-year-old leader, who had formally launched his Presidential campaign with a pledge to evolve the country’s culture to keep it a “shining spot” in the world.
According to the sample count results released by the Elections Department at 10.40 p.m., Tharman was leading with 70 per cent while rival candidates Ng Kok Song and Tan Kin Lian were trailing with 16 per cent and 14 per cent, respectively.
Addressing the media shortly after the release of sample count, Tharman said he was “humbled by the strong endorsement that Singaporeans have given to me”.
“I believe that the vote for me and what I stand for is a vote of confidence in Singapore. It’s a vote of optimism that we can progress together,” he said.
It was for the third time that Singaporeans voted for their President since the elected presidency was introduced in 1991. The first such contested election was in 1993, followed by the second one in 2011.
Close to 1,406,182 Singaporeans turned up to cast their votes as of noon at the 1,264 polling stations across the city-state, according to the Elections Department Singapore (ELD).
Among those who turned up at the polling stations early in the morning were President Halimah and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
As the head of the city-state, the Singaporean President is empowered to veto government budgets and key public appointments, authorise anti-corruption investigations, and safeguard the country’s fiscal reserve.
Tharman joined politics in 2001 and has served in the public sector and ministerial positions with Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) for over two decades.
Incumbent President Halimah Yacob’s six-year term will end on September 13.