PM Lee congratulates Tharman on winning presidency by ‘decisive margin’
Singaporeans have chosen Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam to be their next president by a “decisive margin”, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said early on Saturday morning after the former senior minister won 70.4 per cent of the vote.
He has every confidence Mr Tharman will carry out his duties as president with distinction, having had a long and distinguished record of public service.
The Prime Minister added in a statement that he called Mr Tharman to congratulate him on his win and to assure him of his Government’s full cooperation. “Mr Tharman has also declared his intention to work closely with the Government.”
As head of state, Mr Tharman will represent Singapore at home and abroad, and exercise custodial powers, including over the reserves and key appointments, PM Lee said.
Thanking the three presidential candidates for putting themselves forward in the election, he added: “I am happy that Singaporeans have been able to exercise the right to vote for our next president, and to focus on what the elected president is about. In this election, both voters and candidates have shown a greater understanding of the roles and duties of the president, which bodes well for Singapore.”
Mr Tharman trumped fellow candidates Ng Kok Song, who received 15.72 per cent of the vote, and Mr Tan Kin Lian, who garnered 13.88 per cent.
PM Lee said that as head of state, the president has to be a unifying figure whom all Singaporeans can look up to and identify with.
“He must exercise his custodial powers under the Constitution wisely, bringing to bear his experience and independent judgment.”
Internationally, the president must fly the country’s flag high as Singapore’s representative, he added.
Separately, PM Lee thanked election officials for their hard work, which allowed for a smooth and successful presidential election.
“I also wish to thank all voters, both here and abroad, for doing our civic duty,” he said.
“Now that the election is over, let us come together again as Singaporeans, to tackle the challenges ahead and build a stronger and more united nation.”