The star of GE2015? DPM Tharman
The People's Action Party (PAP) triumphed with a big win on polling day (Sept 11), improving its vote share from 66.96 per cent in 2011 to 79.29 per cent this time.
The party's shining star this election season?
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
Mr Tharman's Jurong GRC team had better results (79.28 per cent of the votes) than Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's team in Ang Mo Kio GRC (78.63 per cent).
Some netizens are hoping Mr Tharman will take over as PM after Mr Lee steps down.
Two "Tharman for PM" Facebook pages have been set up, with one garnering over 745 likes as of Sept 18. Though the other just has two likes.
He has even caught the attention of the international media.
A feature by Reuters discussed the possibility of Mr Tharman, 58, stepping up to the role of PM.
Also posed was the question of whether Singapore is ready for a non-Chinese PM, mooting that the "odds of Mr Tharman... making it to the top job should be long."
However, political commentator Eugene Tan, law professor at Singapore Management University suggests: "If it is assessed that a transitional prime minister is needed while the fourth generation is ready to take over, then... Tharman is well-positioned to step up."
When PM Lee hinted in July that he may step down by 2020, names such as labour chief Chan Chun Sing and Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin came up as potential contenders.
But while speculation over who lands the job will not quell any time soon, we give you five reasons why Mr Tharman was the clear star of the 2015 General Election.
1. THAT rally speech
On Sept 5, Mr Tharman was one of the special guests at the PAP rally for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC at Petir Road.
In a 27-minute long rally speech, he impressed many by succinctly summarising social welfare policy and compared it with other countries' efforts.
He explained, with no hint of condescension, how the oppositions' proposals of a free health-care would lead to the middle income group possibly shouldering the burden via a higher income tax.
2. 45th St Gallen Symposium
While Singaporeans have always known Mr Tharman to be charming and awfully smart, he went absolutely viral this year with a combination of these two traits on display at a dialogue overseas,
Garnering more than 300,000 views, the YouTube video of the dialogue between Mr Tharman and BBC HARDTalk host Stephen Sackur in Switzerland quickly went viral.
Sackur is known for his blunt interviewing style, posing tough questions to his interviewees whether they be celebrities, politicians or world leaders.
Mr Tharman won plaudits for being forthcoming and critically honest when speaking about Singapore's progress in the last 50 years.
He answered Sackur's tougher questions with grace even when defending Singapore's social policies, which included "ethnic balance" in every HDB block.
He even coined a new term when asked if he believed in a social safety net; Mr Tharman replied: "I believe in the notion of a trampoline".
3. Admirers from both sides
From ordinary netizens to high-profile academics to even opposition members - it seems like everyone is a fan of Mr Tharman.
Professor Tommy Koh, Singapore's Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, wrote in a recent commentary in The Straits Times: "I am glad that the PAP leader whose team scored the highest popular vote... was Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam. He was always calm and measured. He never uttered an insult or a threat."
"Instead, he explained the PAP's policies and rebutted the alternatives put forward by the opposition in a clear and rational way. He was intellectually brilliant but came across as humble and open-minded," said Professor Koh, who is also a special adviser at the Institute of Policy Studies.
He added: "I hope other politicians would seek to emulate him."
Mr Tharman even has fans in the opposition camp. At a lunchtime rally during the hustings period, Singapore Democratic Party's Dr Paul Tambyah called him "the most brilliant of our current ministers".
Dr Tambyah also added: "Many of us in the alternative parties hope that one day DPM Tharman will have a falling out with PM (Lee Hsien Loong) and will come out to lead a grand coalition of opposition parties."
People have also expressed their admiration for him on Twitter.
4. The poet minister
It was recently unearthed by Mothership.sg that Mr Tharman wrote four poems for a 1978 collection called 'but we have no legends' (yes, the title is all lower case).
Mr Chew Kheng Chuan, chairman at The Substation and Mr Yeoh Kam Leong, who is a former economist at GIC, also co-edited the collection.
The trio were then in national service and were part of the Young Writers' Circle at the National Library.
This is one of Mr Tharman's poems:
staircase, block 104
by Tharman Shanmugaratnam
variation of yesterday’s game.
accusing shrieks challenging
and yesterday is no pakai.
and happiness is sometimes bought.
shall learn the ways –
smother their responses, cultivate
the measure of nonchalance: they
too shall squeeze into lives
and live with it. and happiness
is often sold.
screaming past the lightning,
then smiling through a
in the dark turn of the staircase
5. Best finance minister
Mr Tharman is clearly respected internationally for his policies under his finance portfolio.
He was named Finance Minister of the Year by Euromoney magazine, a global banking and finance publication.
Mr Tharman was awarded for his "over-arching role" Singapore's push towards greater productivity.
In 2011, he was appointed as the chairman of International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) - at a time when the global economy was going through the financial crisis.
He was chosen, by a committee of 24 members, for his broad experience, deep knowledge of economic and financial issues, and active engagement with global policy makers.He also became the first Asian to lead the IMFC.
The original term was for three years but IMFC extended it for another year.
When Mr Tharman stepped down last year, the International Monetary Fund expressed deep appreciation for Mr Tharman's "service and guidance as IMFC chairman during challenging times".
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