(Singapore 8 June 2023) Singapore’s Senior Minister, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, has declared his candidacy for the upcoming presidential election.

In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, he expressed his decision to run for the elections and retire from all his positions within the government. He also conveyed his intention to resign from the People’s Action Party.

His resignation is scheduled for July 7, during which the 66-year-old Coordinating Minister for Social Policies will also step down from various significant roles, including Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Deputy Chairman of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation GIC, Chairman of the Economic Development Board’s International Advisory Council, and other ministerial responsibilities he has undertaken.

Singapore’s Senior Minister, Tharman Shanmugaratnam Photo: PMO

In response to Tharman’s letter, Prime Minister Lee expressed his acknowledgment of the heavy loss that Tharman’s departure from the Cabinet would bring to him and the team.

“But I understand why you have decided to make this move and run for President. It is with keeping with the spirit of public service and sense of duty that you have shown all these years,” Lee said.

Before assuming the position of Senior Minister, Tharman served as Deputy Prime Minister from 2011 to 2019. He held the position of Minister for Finance until 2015 and Minister for Education for five years until 2008. Tharman first entered Parliament as a Member of Parliament for Jurong GRC in November 2001 and has been re-elected four times since then. In the 2020 election, the PAP team led by Tharman achieved a remarkable victory in their constituency, securing over 74% of the vote against the new party Red Dot United.

To be eligible as a candidate in the presidential election, one must be at least 45 years old and meet the public or private sector requirements. There are approximately 50 public service positions that satisfy the public sector service requirement, allowing individuals to participate in the upcoming presidential elections.

As one of the most senior-ranking candidates from the People’s Action Party, Tharman’s candidacy for the highest office holds substantial weight. The upcoming presidential election must take place before September 13 when incumbent President Halimah Yacob’s six-year term concludes.