Singapore: Presidential election in September if voting is required

Prime Minister Lee said in November the government was adopting a recommendation that ensures fair racial representation in the top post.

Singapore: Presidential election in September if voting is required
Singapore's President Tony Tan Keng Yam (2nd L) and his wife Mary Chee Bee Kiang (L) listen to their national anthem with Japan's Emperor Akihito (C) and Empress Michiko (2nd R) during the welcoming ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan, November 30, 2016. REUTERS/Kimimasa Mayama/ Pool

The next Presidential Election in Singapore will be held in September rather than in August so that the voting does not interfere with the National Day celebrations. Presidential elections in Singapore are usually held in the last week of August. However, it's not clear if there will be voting in this year's presidential election as the position is reserved for the Malay community.

Chan Chun Sing, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, made the announcement in Parliament, adding that the change of date does not require a change in the law.

The minister pointed out that in 2011, campaigning and the voting coincided with the month-long National Day celebrations. However, this year the government will issue a Writ of Election in the second half of August, well in time before the term of President Tony Tan expires.

"If a new President is not elected by the time President Tony Tan's term expires on Aug 31... the Constitution provides for the Chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers or, if he is unavailable, the Speaker, to be the acting President. The acting President cannot exercise the functions of the President indefinitely," he said, according to the Channel News Asia.

Last November, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the government was adopting a Constitutional Commission recommendation that ensures fair racial representation in the top post. As per this, the next president of the country will be ethnic Malay, provided a qualified candidate emerges, Lee said.

Who is eligible to become Singapore president?

The president is directly elected by simple majority popular vote for a single 6-year term. Singapore has put in place strict eligibility criteria for anyone planning to run for president.

The election system stipulates that all candidates should get the certificates of eligibility issued by the Presidential Elections Committee.

In 1999 and 2005 incumbent candidates were elected unopposed as nobody else cleared the eligibility criteria.

The 2011 election was the first direct presidential election in 18 years in the country with four candidates in the fray.

The new Commission was tasked with reviewing the qualifying process and recommend changes lf existing provisions are seen inadequate.