Workers’ Party does not endorse any presidential candidate; reiterates objection to elected post
The Workers’ Party (WP) says it does not endorse any presidential candidate in the coming election, nor does it call on any of its members or volunteers to assist them in any official capacity.
Responding to media queries, a WP spokesman said the party has, for the past three decades, consistently voiced its objection to the elected presidency and called for its abolishment, as well as a reversion to a ceremonial presidency instead.
“The Workers’ Party believes that the current qualifying criteria for presidential candidates is skewed towards PAP-approved candidates, and the (elected presidency) in its current form undermines parliamentary democracy,” said the spokesman, referring to the ruling People’s Action Party.
“It also serves as an unnecessary source of gridlock - one that could potentially cripple a non-PAP government within its first term - and is an alternative power centre that could lead to political impasses,” the WP spokesman added.
WP’s statement comes as the independence of presidential hopefuls Mr Ng Kok Song, 75, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, 66, and Mr Tan Kin Lian, 75, has come under greater scrutiny during the past few days of the hustings.
Political analysts have also said the election is shaping up to be a partisan contest, after several prominent opposition figures endorsed Mr Tan Kin Lian.
Mr Ng, who has positioned himself as the only non-partisan candidate, earlier said there is a danger that Mr Tan Kin Lian , if elected, would be “manipulated” by the opposition party leaders backing him.
At the same time, Mr Ng also questioned whether Mr Tharman being elected would lead to a “oneself check oneself system”, given that the former senior minister had a hand in establishing the rules on how the country’s reserves can be used.
Mr Tharman, who resigned from the Government and the PAP in July to contest the presidency, urged voters to “avoid simple labels” and asked that the candidates be assessed on their character and track record.
Meanwhile, Mr Tan said endorsements of his bid for the Istana by opposition figures here have not injected party politics into the presidential election as this is being done in their personal capacities, and not as representatives of the political parties they are associated with.
This came after Dr Tan Cheng Bock, who is the chairman and founder of Progress Singapore Party (PSP), and Mr Tan Jee Say, who is a member of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), had turned up at a walkabout on Sunday to stump for him.
The trio had contested the 2011 Presidential Election, which former deputy prime minister Tony Tan won.
Other opposition figures who have lent support to Mr Tan Kin Lian include Peoples Voice (PV) chief Lim Tean and Reform Party leader Kenneth Jeyaretnam.
PSP had earlier said that it is not endorsing any candidate in the upcoming election, and that any support by any member for a candidate is in his own personal capacity.
The party had issued this statement after Dr Tan Cheng Bock’s public endorsement of Mr Tan Kin Lian.
In an internal memo to PSP members and volunteers later, PSP secretary-general and Non-Constituency MP Leong Mun Wai reiterated the party’s stance of not endorsing any candidate because “we support the principles that the president, as a symbol of the unity of Singapore, is meant to be independent and non-partisan”.
ST has also asked the SDP and the PAP for comment.