Singapore

Polling Day set for Sept 23 in event of contest

Presidential Election 2017 writ issued by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

Singaporeans will vote for their eighth president on Sept 23, if more than one person qualifies to run for the position.

The winning candidate will be the second Malay president in Singapore's history, and the first to be chosen in a presidential election reserved for candidates of a specific community.

But whether 2.5 million eligible voters get to cast their vote at all hinges on the Presidential Elections Committee.

It screens all presidential hopefuls to see whether they meet the required criteria and will inform them of its decision by Sept 12.

If only one candidate qualifies, he or she will be declared the president on Nomination Day, Sept 13. Otherwise, a contest is on the cards.

These details were given by the Elections Department (ELD) yesterday when it announced that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had issued the Writ of Election.

PM Lee stressed in a Facebook post the significance of the reserved election, saying it is important in a multiracial country for every citizen to "know someone of his community can... and does become President from time to time, and thus represent all Singaporeans".

In the event of a contest, Polling Day, which is Sept 23, will be a public holiday.

Three people have stepped forward to potentially join the contest: marine services firm chairman Farid Khan, 61; former Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob, 63; and property company chief executive Salleh Marican, 67.

Mr Farid and Mr Salleh handed in their forms last week, although neither qualifies to run automatically.

Mr Salleh said yesterday in a statement that he is confident of getting the green light, adding that he will be independent of political parties and other organisations. Mr Farid is confident as well that he will qualify.

Potential candidates have to apply for a certificate of eligibility and a community certificate confirming they belong to the Malay community. Both applications must reach the ELD by 5pm next Monday. They also have to apply for a political donation certificate from the ELD by Sept 9.

The final document needed is the nomination paper. The candidates must submit their nomination paper, and all three certificates, in person between 11am and 12 noon on Nomination Day. They must also pay an election deposit of $43,500.

A new feature in this election is a form for candidates to voluntarily undertake to conduct their campaign in a dignified and decorous manner consistent with the president's position as the head of state and the symbol of national unity.

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