SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/Asia News Network): Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam (pic) will be running for president in the upcoming election, stepping aside from politics after 22 years.
“I wish to inform you that I have decided to put myself forward as a candidate in the forthcoming presidential election. I hence wish to retire from politics and all my positions in Government,” he said in a letter to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Thursday (June 8). PM Lee is also secretary-general of the People’s Action Party.
Tharman said he plans to resign from the PAP and step down from his posts as Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies, on July 7 - a month from Thursday.
This is so that he can first fulfil his immediate commitments in Singapore and internationally, and ensure that arrangements are fully in place for his constituents in Jurong GRC to be well-served for the rest of the electoral term, he said.
In a reply letter, Lee accepted his resignation and thanked him for his “distinguished service to Singapore”.
Tharman’s announcement comes after incumbent President Halimah Yacob said on May 29 that she would not be running for a second term.
The election has to be called before the end of Halimah’s six-year term, which expires on Sept 13.
Tharman, 66, is the first potential candidate to throw his hat in the ring, as no other presidential hopeful has made their intentions public.
He satisfies the public service requirement for eligibility under the law, due to his ministerial posts.
Under the public sector service requirements laid down in the Constitution, presidential candidates must have held office - for at least three years - as a minister, chief justice, Speaker, attorney-general, Public Service Commission chairman, auditor-general, accountant-general, or permanent secretary, among others.
Tharman was first elected into Parliament in Nov 2001 in Jurong GRC, and has been re-elected four times since.
His current posts include Senior Minister since 2019, Coordinating Minister for Social Policies since 2015, and chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) since 2011.
He is also deputy chairman of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) - since 2019 - and chairs its Investment Strategies Committee.
His previously held portfolios include Deputy Prime Minister, Finance Minister and Education Minister.
Before stepping into politics, he spent most of his professional career at the MAS.
On the international stage, Tharman has been chairman of the Group of Thirty, an independent global council of leading economic and financial policy-makers, since January 2017.
Since April 2017, he has also been chairing the G20 Eminent Persons Group on Global Financial Governance, to review the system of multilateral financial institutions.