Singapore

Low hands over to Pritam, WP seeks more new blood

The Workers' Party has a new chief, with Aljunied GRC MP Pritam Singh elected unopposed to the top job yesterday.

The passing of the baton completed the party's current phase of leadership renewal, said Mr Low Thia Khiang, who stepped down after 17 years at the helm. He added that the next step was to attract younger Singaporeans in their 30s to join the WP.

"Without new blood, the party will die a natural death," said the 61-year-old, who was presented with a thank-you card from cadres at the party's biennial conference.

Asked if he plans to contest the next general election, due by 2021, Mr Low said: "I have my plans for the next GE, but I think it is premature to discuss now."

In his first public remarks as party chief, Mr Singh, 41, said that his immediate task is to reach out to members for their views of and vision for the party.

It is also important for the newly elected central executive council (CEC) to move forward as a team, he added.

The handover ushers in a new era for the party, said WP chairman Sylvia Lim, 53, who was re-elected unopposed.

The last time the WP saw a leadership transition was in 2001, when Mr Low succeeded Mr J. B. Jeyaretnam.

Yesterday, over 100 cadres cast their votes at the closed-door conference, held for the first time at the WP's new headquarters at Teambuild Centre in Geylang Road.

There had been uncertainty over whether Aljunied GRC MP Chen Show Mao, 57 , would challenge Mr Singh , given that he had unsuccessfully stood against Mr Low in 2016.

But a contest did not materialise, and Mr Singh was elected to rousing applause, according to those present.

Mr Low looks set to continue playing a key role in the party as a member of the 12-man CEC. All the nine WP MPs remain in the decision-making body.

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