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I make no assumptions about my chances, says SM Tharman after announcing he's running for president

Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has said that his decision to run for president wasn't a "rushed" one. 

During a doorstop interview at Taman Jurong Community Centre on Thursday (June 8) evening, Tharman said that taking part in the presidential election was something he'd been thinking about for some months. 

"People have been talking to me for some time. I said it is a difficult decision because I'm comfortable as a policymaker," he said. 

The 66-year-old elaborated: "I feel the time is now right for me to serve in this role and keep the Singapore system strong, keep our social compact strong by being that unifying figure and ensuring that the integrity of the system is here to last." 

He added: "And once I made up my mind, I felt, 'Look, this is a very important matter, no point hedging and disguising the fact that I intend to stand. I should just come out openly and say it.'" 

Despite having 22 years of experience in politics, Tharman said: "I make no assumptions about my chances in this race.

"This is not a political contest, this is about choosing the right person," he explained. 

"I put myself forward to serve to the best of my ability, using all my experience in economics, in finance, in international affairs and the standing I have internationally. I put myself forward to serve Singaporeans in this new role, not a political role, but a different one that has to be above politics.

"It has to be above politics."

When asked who would be taking over his present duties as Member of Parliament in Jurong GRC, Tharman said that Shawn Huang will double up and cover duties in Taman Jurong and Jurong Springs, while the other MPs will take turns to keep in touch with the residents. 

"I think Jurong will be served very well," he said. 

On Thursday afternoon, Tharman announced his intention to run for president through a letter addressed to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. 

In the letter, he stated he will be stepping down as Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies, and resign from the People's Action Party by July 7. 

Tharman is the first candidate to announce he will be running for president in the upcoming election after President Halimah said in May that she would not be running for a second term

She was elected president in 2017 in a reserved election, and her term will end on Sept 13. The presidential election has to be called by then. 

The last contested Presidential Election was held in 2011. 

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