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13 Sep 08:18 PM UTC

Singapore: Appointment of president Sep. 13 may trigger protests

Officials declare Halimah Yacob as president without vote after all other candidates disqualified on September 13; protests possible in the coming days

TIMEFRAME expected from 9/21/2017, 6:24 PM until 9/21/2017, 6:24 PM (Asia/Singapore).

COUNTRY/REGION Singapore

Event

On Wednesday, September 13, officials in Singapore declared Halimah Yacob as the next president without holding an election after all other candidates were disqualified. Yacob is a former speaker of parliament and member of the minority Malay community; she will be Singapore's first woman president. Her inauguration is scheduled for Thursday, September 14.

The announcement by the government has been criticized as circumventing the democratic process, with opponents also claiming that the eligibility requirements for running for president are too restrictive. Protests may occur in the coming days.

Context

The presidential office in Singapore is largely ceremonial, with power primarily resting with the prime minister. Current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is head of the People's Action Party, which has been in power since 1959. Prime Minister Lee is the son of the city-state's founding prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew.

This year's presidential elections were based on a "hiatus-triggered" model, which ensures that if any racial group has not been represented in the presidency after five consecutive terms, the presidential election will be limited to candidates belonging to that minority group. As such, the 2017 elections were open to Malay candidates only, and were scheduled to take place on September 23.

Advice

Individuals in Singapore are advised to monitor the situation via local media and avoid all political gatherings.