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Singapore Elects Its First Woman President, Sort Of

REUTERS/Edgar Su

Singapore has its first woman president, Halimah Yacob, following an uncontested election.

The diverse city-state had already determined that, this time around, the presidency would go to a member of the minority Malay community.

Five candidates came forward. Two were not Malays, and two were underqualified and therefore ineligible. Yacob was qualified due to having served in a senior public office for over three years. She was declared the winner after nominations closed.

Yacob, the former speaker of Singapore’s parliament, said that “Although this is a reserved election, I’m not a reserved president. I’m a president for everyone.”

Many criticized the election and its strict eligibility requirements. Such criticism is rare in Singapore, a wealthy and politically stable country that has been governed since 1965 by the People’s Action Party (PAP).

Opposition politician Yet Jenn Jong noted in a blog post that, “It would have restored some of the lost moral authority by her winning against credible opponents through popular votes…She is, after all, a veteran in elections and has won handsomely in the four general elections she stood in.”

The presidency of Singapore is a largely ceremonial six-year post.

[Via Reuters]

 

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