SINGAPORE - About 50 public service positions meet the public-sector service requirement to contest Singapore’s next presidential election, said Minister for Education Chan Chun Sing.
Within the private sector, the pool of candidates who qualify to be elected as president grows dramatically.
“There are currently more than 1,200 companies with average shareholders’ equity at or exceeding $500 million,” said Mr Chan in a written reply to a parliamentary question filed by Non-Constituency MP Leong Mun Wai on Wednesday.
A person who seeks to qualify by meeting the private-sector requirement has to have served as chief executive of such a company for at least three years, which means the pool is likely to be smaller than 1,200.
The question of who qualifies to run for president is pertinent, as the presidential election is due by September this year.
Candidates who want to throw their hat in the ring will have to meet several requirements set by the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC).
A qualified candidate to run for president not only has to be a Singapore citizen, but also has to have lived in the Republic for at least a decade in the lead-up to Nomination Day.
Candidates must also be 45 years of age or older.
The candidate must also meet the PEC’s public- or private-sector service requirements within the past two decades, among other criteria.
The public-sector service requirement includes having held office as a minister, chief justice, Speaker of Parliament, attorney-general, chairman of the Public Service Commission, auditor-general, accountant-general or permanent secretary for at least three years.
Singapore’s most recent presidential election in 2017 was a walkover for Madam Halimah Yacob as there were no other eligible Malay candidates.
It was a reserved election for a particular ethnic community – in this case, Malay – as the community had not had a member elected as president in the past five terms.
Singapore’s Constitution was amended in 2016 to reserve the elected presidency for candidates of a particular racial group if there has not been a president from the group for the five most recent presidential terms.