Singapore's 'walkover' presidential election draws public criticism
September 12 2017 01:00 PM
Halimah Yacob talking to reporters outside the Elections Department in Singapore
Halimah Yacob talking to reporters outside the Elections Department in Singapore

Dpa/Singapore

The election process that resulted in Singapore likely naming its first female president, Halimah Yacob, drew an outpouring of criticism on Tuesday.

Yacob, 63, was the only candidate among three hopefuls to be declared eligible by the Elections Department on Monday, paving the way for a so-called ‘walkover’ election in which a candidate faces no opposition.

Yacob automatically qualified on account of having held a key public position as speaker of parliament for three years.

The other two contenders, Salleh Marican and Farid Khan, were both denied eligibility, having fallen short of a constitutional rule that required them to have led a company with shareholder equity of at least 500 million Singapore dollars (372 million US dollars).

Some observers expressed support for the historic moment but others were disappointed that there would be no contest in an election reserved exclusively for candidates from the minority Malay community - the first of its kind in the city-state.

On Tuesday, the hashtag #notmypresident was trending on Twitter in Singapore, with social media users expressing their ire at what they saw as the lack of a democratic process.

‘Democracy officially revealed to be dead in #Singapore,’ user John Tan wrote.

‘How did 'Elected Presidency' become 'Selected Presidency?'‘ another Twitter user wondered.

Still others asked why the bar for presidential qualifications was not lowered in order to field more candidates.

The election, which had been scheduled for September 23, will no longer be held and Yacob is expected to be formally declared the winner on Wednesday. 



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