Wed, 13 Sep 2017 11:24 - Updated Wed, 13 Sep 2017 11:24
Singapore names first woman president, raising eyebrows over election process
SINGAPORE - Singapore named a former speaker of parliament as the multicultural city-state’s first woman president on Wednesday while critics expressed dismay that other candidates were disqualified and the election went uncontested.
Send by email
To share this news by email, fill out the information below and click Send
To report errors in the texts of articles published, fill out the information below and click Send
Aiming to strengthen a sense of inclusivity, Singapore had decreed the presidency, a largely ceremonial six-year post, would be reserved for candidates from the minority Malay community this time.
The returning officer declared Halimah Yacob, 63, elected on Wednesday after nominations closed.
Of the four other applicants, two were not Malays and two were not qualified to contest, the elections department said on Monday. Halimah had automatically qualified because she held a senior public post for over three years.
If the election had been held, all citizens would have been eligible to vote.
Several critics went online to protest against the stringent eligibility rules, which include a stipulation that a candidate from the private sector should have headed a company with paid-up capital of at least S$500 million ($370 million).
The prime minister’s office said it had no comment on criticism of the election process.
“It would have restored some of the lost moral authority by her winning against credible opponents through popular votes,” said opposition politician Yee Jenn Jong in a blog post.
“She is, after all, a veteran in elections and has won handsomely in the four general elections she stood in.”
The rights group Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) said it hoped “more will be done to improve access to politics for all of Singapore’s women”.
“Unfortunately, the process that led to this outcome has not reflected our hopes,” it said in a statement posted online.
Displays of dissent are rare in Singapore, one of the richest and most politically stable countries in the world. It has been ruled by the People’s Action Party (PAP) since independence in 1965 and the current prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, is the son of the country’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew,REUTERS
- 13/09/2017 11:29:40
COX‘S BAZAR - Pressure mounted on Myanmar on Tuesday to end violence that has sent about 370,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh, with the United States calling for protection of civilians and Bangladesh urging safe zones to enable refugees to go home.
- 13/09/2017 11:15:13
WASHINGTON - North Korea showed trademark defiance on Wednesday over new U.N. sanctions imposed after its sixth and largest nuclear test, vowing to redouble efforts to fight off what it said was the threat of a U.S. invasion.
- 12/09/2017 11:20:48
PHNOM PENH - The U.S. ambassador to Cambodia rejected government accusations of interference by the United States as “inaccurate, misleading and baseless” on Tuesday and called for the release of detained opposition leader Kem Sokha.