Tharman Shanmugaratnam, a respected Singaporean of Indian descent, has emerged as an official contender in the upcoming presidential elections in the prosperous Southeast Asian nation. The 66-year-old former senior minister of the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) has officially entered the race, alongside two other candidates of Chinese origin.
In a recent speech, Tharman Shanmugaratnam emphasized the importance of a dignified and unifying campaign, expressing his hope for a process that brings Singaporeans together rather than divides them. Singapore’s Elections Department (ELD) confirmed three candidates for the country’s highest non-political position, including Tharman.
Tharman, renowned for his dedication to creating a fairer and more inclusive society, made a notable move in July by resigning from all political and public positions to qualify for the presidential race. He clarified that his decision wasn’t driven by personal prestige, but by a lifelong commitment to fostering compassion and equality.
With a background as an economist and civil servant, Tharman Shanmugaratnam transitioned into politics in 2001, holding pivotal roles such as minister for education and finance. His tenure also saw him serve as deputy prime minister from 2011 to 2019. Tharman’s entry into the presidential race is driven by a desire to contribute his extensive experience and capabilities to Singapore’s future, particularly as the nation faces complex challenges.
The other candidates in the race include Ng Kok Song, a 75-year-old former investment chief of a state-owned company and Tan Kin Lian, also 75, who previously headed the state-run insurance company. Ng seeks to preserve Singapore’s key assets, including reserves, public service appointments and social stability, while Tan’s platform centers on impartiality and fulfilling constitutional responsibilities if elected.
The presidential elections promise an engaging and diverse race, with candidates from different backgrounds sharing their visions for Singapore’s future. As the nation prepares for the upcoming elections, Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s entry into the race brings a distinct perspective and a commitment to a more compassionate and inclusive society.