Presidential election in September, changes announced
Changes to election procedures announced in Parliament
Singaporeans will go to the polls in September to vote for the next elected president, after incumbent President Tony Tan Keng Yam steps down on Aug 31.
The chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers or, if unavailable, the Speaker, will be the acting President until the new President is elected.
This was one of the two non-legislative announcements by Mr Chan Chun Sing, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, in Parliament yesterday.
He was speaking during the debate on the Presidential Elections (Amendment) Bill, which introduces changes to the election procedures.
The Bill was passed with the Workers' Party MPs and nominated MP Kok Heng Leun voting against it.
Mr Chan said the polls have been pushed back as the new election process will take a slightly longer time.
"This resets the clock so that in future, presidential election campaigning will take place outside of the National Day period, assuming that Presidents serve their full six-year terms," he said.
Presidential hopefuls can start applying for the certificate of eligibility and community certificate from June 1.
They have up to five days after the Writ of Election is issued - sometime in August before President Tan's term expires - to submit their applications.
... in future, presidential election campaigning will take place outside of the National Day period.Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Chan Chun Sing
Aside from the poll date, Mr Chan also said the candidates will get more airtime on television to reach out to voters.
There will be no designated rally sites, but those who wish to hold one can apply for a permit from the police.
Mr Chan also spoke about the legislative changes outlined in the Bill.
They come after broader constitutional changes to the elected presidency were passed last November, and spell out the nuts and bolts of how presidential elections will be carried out, said Mr Chan.
The changes include:
- Forming a 16-member community committee, comprising a chairman and three five-member sub-committees split by race, to assess if a candidate belongs to a certain racial group. A community certificate will be issued if the sub-committee is satisfied that a candidate belongs to that community.
- Giving overseas Singaporeans two more calendar days after the Writ is issued to register as overseas voters.
- Recounting votes automatically - instead of upon request - if the margin between the top and any other candidates is 2 per cent or fewer of the total valid votes.